When winter approaches, you might find yourself worrying about your four-legged companions, especially if they live outside. Keeping your horse warm during the winter months will help to keep them comfortable in the biting cold and brisk winter conditions. Horses are incredible animals and can adapt naturally in the cold weather, but there are a few things you can do to give them a helping hand. Here are 5 tips to help you to help them.
- Rugs and Winter Blankets
Choosing stable rugs or blankets will depend on personal circumstances. A few things that you should consider are body condition, age, and wet weather. It is important to make sure your rug or blanket is waterproof and can withstand changing weather conditions if your horse stays outside, you should also make sure it has a thick layer of insulation.
You should make sure that your horse has somewhere to shelter in the winter. A structure that has three walls and a roof will be enough to allow your horse to escape the elements when they need to. Horses tend to cope well in cold weather but do not like wind and rain. Providing them with an area of a windbreak, even if this is simply a few trees or a hedge to provide them some cover from the elements.
Horses know how to survive living in many different climates, they can adapt naturally, and we must make sure that we don’t intervene too much. Horses rely on the oils in their coats to protect them from getting wet, which also helps to keep them warm. Grooming your horse instead of bathing can help to keep the coat’s essential oils but as well as this, allows you to feel for weight loss that may be caused by extra calories being burnt due to shivering.
As humans, we know that movement creates warmth. Keep your horse in an environment that promotes plenty of walking and exercise. Giving your horse the option of shelter is good so that it has the option to protect itself from the bad weather but ensure this still allows your horse to exercise. This is one of the best ways to be sure that your horse is generating its own warmth. Like us, horses will benefit both physically and mentally from keeping to a regular exercise regime. A fit and healthy horse will be able to see through the coldest of winters.
Horses shouldn’t go any longer than 2 hours without grazing. In the winter, grass can be scarce and can lead horses to forage in ditches and hedges for food, which is dangerous. Providing good quality hay to graze on throughout the day will keep your horse from straying to find its own food, as well as keeping your horse healthy on the inside too. Securing boundaries is also a good idea to stop them getting into danger if they do happen to wander and graze elsewhere.
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