Looking After Your Horse In Winter

Looking After Your Horse In Winter

It's fair to say that horses have become fairly well adapted to harsh winters, but just like us they still suffer with the cold. The freezing weather brings with it a few challenges for horses and their owners. If you take the time and effort to look after your horse in the winter then they should be absolutely fine. All you need to do is be mindful of some issues that they could face and try and prevent them from being uncomfortable. There are far more hazards to contend with when you are out riding in the winter, so it's important to be prepared and keep an eye out for anything that cause issues. Here are some tips for looking after your horse in winter.


hen preparing the or barn for winter, ensure that the horse's quarters are clean, warm, well ventilated and free from drafts. Clean bedding is a priority and regular changes of the bedding

Poor Riding Conditions

Fierce cold winds are not ideal for riding, nor are severe thunderstorms or, so use your common sense when judging the riding conditions.

Look After Their Hooves

It's especially important to look after your horses hooves in winter. They have to endure harsh conditions. Make sure you trim your horses hooves regularly so that they have a good grip and clear out any excess mud and snow from their hooves. A good tip is to put petroleum jelly on the underneath of your horse's hooves. This will reduce the buildup of snow under their feet.

Check Terrain

When you are going out on winter rides you need to be much more aware of the terrain. It's definitely worth checking the terrain and scouting the area before you head out on a ride. Avoid very deeps snow as your horse will struggle and you don't know what hazards are hidden underneath. If the pathways are extremely icy you might want to postpone your ride as you don't want your horse slipping over. If you do decide to head out when it's a little icy then take some sand or salt to throw over particularly icy patches. You may also want to spread things like sawdust and salt in parts of your stable where your horse or you could slip.

Prevent Chill

Horses can easily get chill even after they have been on a long ride and their body is warm. They sweat and their bodies can suddenly get cold, leaving them open to getting a chill. Take care to dry your horse off properly after a wet ride, get rid of any snow on their body and give them a breathable blanket if necessary.

Check Drinking Water Isn't Frozen

Many horses understandably don't like drinking freezing cold water. If you notice they are not drinking much then try and give them some warm water to make sure they don't get dehydrated. Check their water isn't frozen and break up any ice that forms so that they can still access their water.

Get Them Used To Being Outside

Your horse won't cope very well with cold conditions if it is not used to being outside. Take them outdoors and allow them to spend time outside so that they can acclimatise to the colder conditions.

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