There are several ways for you to get ready for winter. You can wear your seaters and woolly mittens when going outside. While staying at home, you can turn on your heater. As winter comes, both domesticated and wild animals prepare themselves too for the season. But they don’t have the proper materials for them to ease the cold.
Just like humans, horses need to have material for them to fight the cold. Even though they are healthy, still they need your help. Prepare the necessary materials that may help them throughout the winter. What are the things need to prepare?
Let’s Get Started!
Preparing the Horse Farm
The winter can be difficult to both horses and horse owners. So, preparing the ranch can help in fighting the winter challenges.
- It will help remove mud and reduce the erosion by setting down something of a footing material. The usual materials are crushed rock, some wood product, and crushed rock. This gives you simpler chores, and your horses a better surface in spending the winter on. Also, you can have footing in paddocks, walkways, or gates’ front.
In looking for materials that are most used and accessible for footing, search around your area. Traveling through paddocks n dry fall is much easier for delivery trucks. They will have a hard when fields are muddy and slipper. Footing products may have a high price and limited in the winter. Getting your bearings before the winter can help you.
- The thing to consider about repairs or modifications to your rooftop run-off system is now. Always divert the eater away from paddocks to avoid contamination. The lush green ditch, dry well, rain barrel, and excellent woodland are good places to divert the rainwater.
By that, your daily chores can easier since there is reduction in mud’s amount. Also, it will lessen the mud that your horses can spend in winter. Remove leaf debris from downspouts and gutters before the winter. By this, you can stop the overflowing from the roof.
- If you have pasture, the best time to baby you horses is fall. In autumn, the pastures are not good. Also, the pastures have a slow growth in spring. It is best if you enable the grass to grow a decent leaf amount. Let them grow for at about four inches, for protection from winter
Pasture plants are inactive and cannot grow in winter months. With this, pastures cannot endure constant grazing. Soils in soggy winters are also moist and compacted. Creating a sacrifice area is the best choice for handling horses in winter. In paddock, you can place your horses when there’s no enough pastures.
- Fall is a perfect time for compost to spread. Compost is a rich enhancement of soil. It adds and rejuvenates natural microorganisms with macronutrients. With this, you would enhance the soil and well-being of plants. During the growth period, spread manure on pastures. You should spread it a half-inch layer per period.
- Do you own a barn and house flashlight in an easy-access place? Are there extra batteries? Is the fuel for lantern, cook stoves, and generators are enough? Headlamps that are battery-powered are helpful.
- Prepare the supply of hay for winter. Purchasing them before the winter could be cost-efficient. In winter, the price for hay rise up for double or triple. With this, you have the assurance of feed supply for your horses in winter. Food supply may have scarcity in the midwinter so this can save you. When buying hay, choose the green, fresh smelling and leafy ones.
- You need to have a supply of water for winter. Make sure that it won’t freeze or get cold. A horse can drink eight to twelve gallons of water a day. Research indicates that horses enjoy a forty-five to sixty-five degrees water temperature. So, when the water is icy cold, they appear to drink fewer. It is necessary to remember that eating snow cannot have enough moisture. A reduction in the intake of water can contribute to colic. So, ensure that horses drink water in a sufficient amount.
- Consider having a heater for a stock tank or heated stalls bucket as well. Before winter begins, prepare ahead in having this equipment. Again, thermal buckets and tank heaters will have a high demand in winter. So, you can have a hard time in finding these products in winter.
Prepare the Horses for Winter
It is important to prepare your horses before the winter begins. With this, they can condition themselves in fighting the cold.
- Food and Water
- Food digestion creates heat in the horses’ body. So, horses to have more food intake in cold months. To maintain and retain caloric intake, use quality forage. Combined it with feed, as suggested from the equine nutritionist.
- Fresh water is still best for horses. Even though they can eat the snow, it cannot satisfy them. Supplying horses with non-icy water can keep them hydrated and help with digestion.
- With good mouth and teeth, horses can eat and drink without discomfort. It is prudent to check the mouth and teeth of your horses. This will ensure that they can have comfortable eating. Also, this will them sustain the correct caloric intake during winter for weight maintenance.
- Warmth and Comfort
- Enable your horses’ coat to expand during the colder months, if possible. The natural thickness gives the horse an extra insulation. With this, they can keep their body warm as the weather getting colder.
- There are moments that horses’ need to clip for them to feel cool. These times are when they are working or preparing for a show. For this reason, horses can have an extra comfort in the winter. Also, a waterproof coat or blanket will do better for horses. These will increase the warmth that they can feel in colder days.
- The coat of horses cannot always withstand the cold weather. The strong wind can penetrate through the coat of horses. Also, wet horses’ coat can have a loss of insulating capacity. So, provide your horses a shelter from the factors that can affect them.
- Be careful in warming the horses when riding during winter month. You need to ensure that you dry the sweaty areas to avoid chilled. Also, take care of the tack of horse riding to avoid cracking. You need also to be attentive to proper saddle not to dry in cold air.
- Health of Horses
- Inform an equine veterinarian regarding the disease control in winter-time. You need to give horses that will eliminate bot larvae when the first frost occurred.
- Horses and people are not the only animals that in wintertime seek warmer places. There are other rodents finding their way to be in the barn. Control pests and discourage in enclosed containers by preserving food storage. Also, store leather products, blankets and some materials for storage spaces.
- Good health plays a significant role in the first frost until it is done. So, you need to pay attention to the health of your horses. Give them vaccinations in autumn to fight diseases in winter.
- During the year, hoof growth happens. Maintain year-round hoof treatment. Your farrier should use traction winter studs and pads for snowball. With this, you can prevent snow piling up in the bottom of horses’ hoof.
For you to broaden your knowledge about preparing your horses in winter, watch this video:
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!