Tips to Care for Your Horse going into the Winter Months

September 30, 2019


My horses, like many of yours, are coming off a busy summer show season and making the transition of adapting to the cooler fall weather and less hauling. Trail rides down the minimum maintenance roads have become more frequent with not nearly as much time is spent in the arena.  This week, I would like to give some tips to horse owners on preparing your horse for fall and winter. As a sales team, we are trained on a vast array of products which allows us to bring value to your farmgate because of our ability to make a recommendation that best fits your operation's needs. But before we can make a recommendation on products, it's important to understand what condition your horse is in going into fall.

Before your horse starts to grow their winter coat, take time to evaluate their body condition. Body condition may be declining due to pasture forages being depleted. The rainfall we received, plus a couple weeks of warm weather gave an extra boost of green regrowth to our pastures in northeast Nebraska, but I have decided to start supplementing my horses with hay to get them slowly transitioned before heading back to the dry lot for winter. I encourage horse owners to take out their weight tape and compare their horse's weight to what was recorded in the spring.  Besides forage quality, take the time to get familiar with the leaves in your pasture that your horse(s) are ingesting. If in doubt, call your feed specialist, veterinarian, or an extension agent to verify what is toxic or in question.

When temperatures begin to drop, some horses may reduce their water intake leading to issues such as colic. So, it critical that water temperatures are not too cold or frozen during the winter months. Heated water buckets are a popular purchase, but not economical for all horse owners. Shelter from wind and rain/snow allow horses to stay dry and provide relief. The majority of horses can survive cold temperatures with their natural hair coat, but some situations may require a horse to wear a blanket. As with all seasons of the year, keep salt available at all times.  I prefer the loose salt, but a block can work as well.

Finally, set up an appointment with your veterinarian/equine dentist to float your horse's teeth.  If the dental arcades aren't moving correctly or have sharp points, food may not be properly digested which can cause your horse to lose some of the extra energy provided by their feed source. Once you are prepared for winter and know your horse's body condition score, stop by your local CVA feed location for a feed recommendation going into the winter months. We have feed for growing horses, senior horses, or all-life stage feeds for producers who would like to feed one product to their entire herd. For more information, contact your local CVA feed sales specialist.
 
by Brandi Salestrom
Posted: 9/30/2019 2:56:49 PM by Kristin Petersen | with 0 comments


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