Top 6 winter health challenges for horses!

 

A lot of these things have tons of suggestions and ways of doing things… and some can be simply addressed with one simple task a day. Some of these suggestions about winter health challenges for horses are mere reminders, some are weird things that I have learned now that I moved from paradise into actual seasons.

 

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  • Monitor your horse’s temperature. Not by touching ears or feeling under blankets, but with a thermometer. This will tell you if he’s overheated or hypothermic. Overheating can and does happen in winter – a fuzzy horse with an exercise routine is much more likely to overheat. The thermometer takes away the subjectivity of your hands. For more on detecting if your horse is cold, this super piece of writing has you covered.

 

 

horse thermometer with attached string

 

  • Get water into your horse. Add flavors, offer warm water, add extra water to his feed, change water buckets daily. But the most important 3-second job is to actually stick a finger into his mouth to check your horse’s gums. Sticky and dry = bad. Wet and slippery = good. Like seriously, it takes seconds. For more on monitoring hydration, read this.

 

  • Keep him moving. Find a way for your horse to exercise. I personally hate riding below 30 degrees, but I will at the walk. When it’s bitter and windy, you can still go for a walk if the footing is safe. You don’t have to train like you are going to the Olympics, but moving around is key. For hoof, heart, muscle, bone, and mental health.

 

  • Forage forage forage. The is one major thing that keeps a horse warm from the inside out, and that’s the fermentation that takes place over HOURS. A single mashy meal with hot water lasts minutes. The horse’s body digesting takes hours, so keep the forage coming. Hay nets or other slow feeders overnight are a huge help. Slow feeder info here!

 

 

three small hole hay nets in a hay loft

Pre-made hay nets during the day make feeding the last meal a bit easier.

 

  • Hoof care. Don’t skimp because you are not riding as much, the hooves grow slower, or your horse is “on a break”. Frozen ground can lead to bruises, soreness, laminitis. Daily hoof care including checking the digital pulse. Which takes about 30 seconds. Digital pulse info is here, with a handy video, too!

 

  • Regular grooming. Nothing says skin infection and being put on your vet’s lazy owner list is quite like not grooming your horse in winter. Take off the blanket daily. Use your hands to inspect your horse. Feel for ribs. Measure your horse for weight loss and gain. Notice any skin issues, like scabs, bald spots, rubs, new mystery itchy places. Here’s how to check your horse’s weight.

 

What you might have noticed is that taking temps and pulses and checking for hydration and grooming daily looks an awful lot like everyday care anyway. Start to add these health checks into your grooming routine and they become second nature, regardless of the season. Yes, it’s cold, but spending a few extra minutes a day won’t kill either of you. In fact, you might even improve his health!

 

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Stock up here for your horse supplies! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but it’s ZERO extra cents to you.  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

06/13/2024 02:43 am GMT
Jolly Pets Horsemen's Pride Amazing Graze Toy
$59.99

Keep your horse's brain happy!

05/08/2024 12:48 am GMT
FORTEX INDUSTRIES Feed Saver Ring
$14.61

Great to use with buckets to discourage cribbing

04/10/2024 07:03 pm GMT
Equiessentials Slow Feed Hay Ball Large
$130.05 $120.20 ($120.20 / Count)
05/20/2024 02:22 pm GMT
05/30/2024 10:15 am GMT
Grazing Muzzle by GG Equine

Basket-style grazing muzzle to help keep a horse at a healthy weight and help reduce the risks of colic and laminitis in some horses.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for savings sitewide on muzzles, halters, slow feeders, and more.

HayPlay Slow Feed Bag XL – GG Equine

One side of this innovative slow feeder is solid - perfect for pastures! It will hold a small bale of hay.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for sitewide savings on slow feeders and more.

HayPlay Slow Feed Bag – GG Equine - 2 sizes available

2 sizes of this slow-feeding hay toy - snack size holds a few flakes, and the half size holds 1/2 bale.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for sitewide savings on slow feeders and more.

40 lb. Alfalfa Cubes
$35.02 ($0.05 / Fl Oz)
04/10/2024 06:48 pm GMT
04/10/2024 08:03 pm GMT
05/01/2024 12:28 am GMT
Tech Equestrian Rain Sheet with Neck Cover | 1200Denier
$79.95

Keep your horse dry during bad weather, this rain sheet is also great for windy days.

05/07/2024 04:37 pm GMT

 

Thank you!