Check out our tips to help your horse survive the cold snap – including feeding a daily supplement
The temperatures are set to plummet, which means cold hands, frozen water, slippery paths and chapped lips! If the rain hasn’t made you want to run off to sunnier climes, its now set to get icy cold, but at least the sun will be shining.
Cold weather can really take its toll, particularly if your horse is spending long periods in his stable resulting in reduced mobility and sometimes increased anxiety levels. Just like us, horses need exercise all year long, even when it’s cold outside, but often riding during the winter just isn’t possible, and turnout is restricted too. Without regular exercise, those aches and pains can set in and if your horse could talk, he might just be groaning a little about all the niggles that make him pull faces when he sees you, rather than whinny in delight.
Follow our tips so that you and your horse can stride on this winter.
Don’t be tempted to hibernate That old adage “no rest for the horseman” is never truer than in the winter. Short days and lack of light might mean riding is a no go, but your daily horsey chores are essential – watering, feeding, picking hooves and daily checks. Regular grooming and handling will alert you to problems like weight loss, injury, cracked hooves and will keep him on track for goo health. Winter is busier than ever for horse owners!
Feed a supplement
Vetroflex provides specific additional nutritional support to help your horse maintain its overall well-being, flexibility and quality of life.
Vetrofen targets joints and muscles, providing comfort and support to help to ease those aches and pains, It targets inflammation, and fast, by harnessing plant power. Acacia catechu, Boswellia and Curcumin and they’ve been recognised for centuries for their antioxidant properties and black pepper for absorption.
Vetrocalm can really help relax your horse, helping your horse maintain a relaxed outlook and deal with stressful situations.
Provide adequate shelter
Many horses can cope with living outside through the winter. But adequate shelter and extra calories, or energy, are essential.
However, the shelter must be large enough to allow all horses in the field to get out of the weather. A horse with a dominant personality might not allow submissive types into the shelter either, so you need to evaluate the personalities in the herd to ensure this doesn’t happen. If your horse isn’t rugged, cold temperatures alone can normally be endured. Add in wind and moisture (rain, snow or sleet) and winter can get brutal for unrugged horses if the shelter isn’t adequate.
Feed plenty of forage
Horses expend much more energy (calories) keeping warm in the winter than they do at any other time of the year. High quality hay should form the staple part of any winter diet, and it should be available at all times to ensure their energy losses are less than their gains as this is what leads to weight loss. If horses can’t maintain their body weight they will become colder and use more energy to keep warm, which in turn will make them thinner. It’s a self-perpetuating weight-loss cycle. Feed more fibre now!
Provide water, not ice
One of the major causes for colic in the winter is impaction caused by inadequate water intake. Ensure a constant source of water, and make sure ice is broken. A ball in an outdoor trough will help this, while double insulating buckets can help prevent them freezing too. Put a smaller bucket within a larger bucket and fill the space in between with hay.
Check your rugs frequently
Rugs are great for keeping horses warm, dry, and happy. However, you must check what’s happening underneath regularly. If the rug leaks, your horse might have a painful condition called rain scald, or your horse might be losing weight, but you’ve no idea as you haven’t checked under his rug for a while.
Watch the footing Most horses cope fine if they are turned out in the snow, but ice is another story. Be very cautious about ice on surfaces where the horses walk, either to get to turnout or within their turnout. Some yards will use muck from the stable to create temporary walk ways. Frozen fields, that might have been poached during wet weather, or also breeding grounds for injury.
And for you……
Look after your hands
The drop in temperature can lead to cracked hands, not to mention chapped lips and scaly legs! Upgrade your skin care so that your hands don’t add to those bleak days of winter and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize straight after washing to trap in much needed moisture.
Gloves are your best friends
Invest in gloves - several pairs – so that your hands are encased on warm dry, gloves. There are some great waterproof gloves available too so whether you’re hacking out in the frost, cleaning buckets, or sweeping the yards, your hands aren’t taking the brunt of the winter. And remember, Vaseline can be your best friend this winter, and don’t forget your chapstick!
Keep your toes cosy
If your tried and trusted boots have seen better days, or your wellies need winging into the trash can, invest in a new pair of boots because warm, dry feet will make those grey damp days seem just that little bit better.
Layer, layer, layer
Wrap up warm, and then remove layers, and keep spare dry coats on the yard. And that applies to horses too. Use thinner rugs and then you can add and remove, depending on the weather.
Cover up If you’re horses live out or are part stabled, the chances are you’ll be covered in a layer of mud and grime before you can jump on for a ride. You’re horse might be gleaming but you’ll possibly look like you’ve had a quick roll in the field yourself. Light weight waterproofs are perfect for keeping clean while working on the yard.
Keep an eye on the weather forecas
t If a cold snap is on its way, fill extra containers with water, so that if your pipes freeze, you have water available. Wrap external pipes if possible. A hammer is best for cracking frozen buckets, use a colander to fish out leaves and a can of WD40 will help ease frozen locks.