As the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your horse for the Winter season. From adjusting their diet, to ensuring they stay warm and healthy, here are some essential tips to help you and your horse navigate the colder months ahead.  

  • Access Shelter and Bedding  

    Before Winter sets in, evaluate your horse’s shelter to ensure it provides adequate protection from the elements. Make any necessary repairs to roofs, walls, and doors to prevent any cold drafts and leaks. Additionally, ensure your horse has clean and dry bedding, such as straw or shavings, to provide insulation and comfort during the cold nights.  

  • Consider Rugging 

    Depending on your horse’s breed, age, health, and your location, you may need to invest in a Winter rug to provide extra warmth during the cold spells. Choose a rug that is well-fitted and provides adequate coverage without restricting movement. Don’t forget to remove the rug regularly to check for signs of rubbing or discomfort. 

  • Adjust Diet Accordingly 

    As the temperature drops, your horse’s nutritional needs may change. Increase their forage intake to help them generate more body heat through digestion. Consider adding high-quality hay or chaff to their diet to provide additional calories and fibre. Monitor their body weight regularly and adjust their feed accordingly to prevent weight loss during the Winter months. 

  • Protect Against Parasites 

    Although parasite activity may decrease during Winter, it is essential to continue deworming your horse accordingly to your veterinarian’s recommendations. Clean paddocks regularly to remove manure and reduce the risk of parasite infestation. Monitor your horse for signs of parasite-related issues, such as a dull coat, weight loss, or lethargy.  

  • Maintain Hoof Care 

    Winter weather can take a toll on your horse’s hooves, leading to issues such as thrush or cracked hooves. Schedule regular farrier visits to trim hooves and address any potential problems. Consider applying hoof dressing or boots to provide additional protection against wet and muddy conditions.  

  • Monitor Body Condition

    Keep a close eye on your horse’s body condition throughout the Winter months. Check for signs of weight loss, such as prominent ribs or a loss of muscle tone. Adjust their diet or management practices as needed to maintain a healthy body condition score.  

  • Exercise Regularly  

    Don’t let Winter weather put a halt to your horse’s exercise routine. Continue to provide opportunities for turnout and regular exercise, even it means riding indoors or on cleared paths. Exercise helps keep your horse mental and physically stimulated and promotes overall well-being.   

As you gear up for Winter, keep in mind that your care and attention will make all the different in how they weather the season. By staying attuned to their needs and adjusting as necessary, you’ll ensure that they stay healthy, happy and ready for the cold season. 

Embrace the chill, bundle up, and get ready for some frosty adventures together with your horses!