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Winter Horse Tips
 By Saferaphus   •   15th Nov 2016   •   695 views   •   0 comments
Winter Horse Tips

I was out riding a short while ago and took some video from the saddle. The sun was shining, there were no pesky bugs, the trees were just starting to turn to their fall colors and it was the perfect temperature for a ride. As I rode along I thought, I want this video to watch in January so I can savor the memory of a perfect day. Now, in the blink of an eye, the sky is gray, the rain is cold and the wind is whipping the beautiful colors down. It is a not so subtle reminder that winter is coming (cue orchestral theme music).

The horses have been able to get out of the wet and cold, but if the weather gets even more miserable Trillís blanket is at the ready. If you plan to blanket your horse this winter, donít delay in getting it cleaned and repaired. Re-waterproof using a liquid made for horse blankets.

Colder weather means your horse will require a bit more energy to keep warm. Remember, all that fiber digesting helps stoke your horseís internal furnace. However, if the colder weather means your horse is going to be doing less work, you might have to cut back on its feed so it doesnít become fat. Feeding is a balancing act and can take some monitoring to make sure your horse is stays in good condition.

A farrier once told me that people forget about their horse's hooves in the winter. Just because youíre not riding as much doesnít mean you can skip regular trims. Properly trimmed hooves are less likely to chip and split as the ground hardens up. And, if you plan to keep shoes on, and have snow and ice to contend with, snow pads might be a good idea.

Incidences of impaction colic increase as horses donít have access to pasture and must eat hay instead. Grass provides some of your horseís water, but when they eat hay, they need to drink more. Make sure your waterer, buckets, stable plumbing and water heaters are winter ready.

While we might be enjoying pest-free rides on the outside of the horse, there could be some free-loaders hitching a ride on the inside of your horse you should get rid of. After the first hard frost is a good time to de-worm your horse. Use a medication that targets bots, as well as other common parasites. If youíre not sure what to use, take a manure sample to your vet to find out what parasites your horse might be carrying.

Lots of people wonder if they should clip their horses during the winter. Itís only advisable to clip if your horse is frequently working hard and has trouble drying out after working up a sweat. Otherwise, let your horseís coat grow long. If you feel you must clip, do a partial, rather than a full body clip and be prepared to blanket your horse indoors and out.

Do a check of your stable and stop up any drafts, look for loose boards or protruding nails or anything else that might make it uncomfortable or unsafe for your horse in its stall. Check fire extinguishers and make sure all GFICs are working. Replace any non-working light fixtures. The days get shorter fast and you donít want to be working in partial darkness if you can help it.

Make sure you have a generous amount of feed on hand. Itís best to plan well ahead, especially if bad weather might prevent you from getting to the feed store. Always have at least two weeks worth of hay stored, although itís best if you have a winterís supply tucked away.

How do you prepare for winter?
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