Winter Horse Care Hints and Tips
1. Move water buckets inside, away from the stable door to slow freezing on cold nights.
2. Provide shelter for your horse when turned out. A field shelter is ideal – keep it free from droppings and position on dry ground where water will not run in and flood. For horses that live out it is ideal to put a bed down and hang hay nets inside when very bleak. If no field shelter is available, try to offer a field with some dense hedges or trees to provide a break from the wind and rain.
3. Ensure you have clean, dry coolers/sweat rugs to hand after exercise. If your horse is taking a long time to dry after riding consider clipping him depending on the amount of work you plan to do. For horses in light to medium work, a trace clip or blanket clip might suit.
4. Groomers Quick Wash Waterless Shampoo is an ideal way of cleaning stable or mud stains when it is too cold to bathe your horse. Simply spray the product directly onto the coat, then rub off with a towel or stable rubber.
5. Deworm after the first heavy frost. Use a wormer that includes medication to kill bot eggs and larvae.
7. If you are planning on working your horse on very cold days check the conditions of the roads if hacking so you can avoid any areas where water crosses your path. Also, check your arena in case it is frozen in places.
8. If you work your horse hard, ensure he has access to lukewarm water in his stable. Do not let him drink a full bucket of almost frozen water after exercise.
9. If you must wash legs off when bringing in from the field, ensure you dry them thoroughly with a towel to prevent water sitting on the legs, increasing the likelihood of problems such as mud fever. Trimming feathers short will help.
10. When it is very cold feed plenty of high-fibre feed such as hay or haylage as this will help your horse to stay warm. Heat is produced by the horse through digestion of feed, so this will help in very cold weather.