We are well and truly in the middle of winter and have been experiencing some cold snaps recently. It can be more than a little tempting to cover your beloved horse in the toastiest horse rugs that you can find. You may even feel so sorry for them that you want to bring them into your own home. Ok, maybe that would be a bit too much. But when you look out of your window and see the rain lashing against the window pane, it is hard not to feel slightly guilty about them being outside.
It can be tempting to mollycoddle your horse but really you are better off letting him or her toughing it out. Try not to over indulge them too much. Of course, it goes without saying, that you should not neglect them. But it is important not to spoil your horse too much. Horse winter care is essential. So, here are our top five tips for taking care of your horse during these chilly periods.
1. Invest in a Heavyweight Turnout Rug
We have recently been experiencing some sub-zero temperatures and at times it has been difficult trying to stop our toes and fingers becoming numb. Luckily for us we are able to bask in the warmth of our heated homes, but remember to spare a thought for your horse while you are toasting your feet by the fire. If you want to make sure that your horse is as warm as possible then you really should be investing in a heavy turnout rug to keep him or her warm in the coldest of temperatures.
There is a wealth of heavy turnout rugs available on the market, but we would like to recommend the Rambo Duo Heavy Turnout. This really is a fantastic horse rug that is incredibly versatile and is actually suitable for a variety of weather conditions. The Rambo Duo Heavy turnout allows you to detach the 300g under-blanket to reveal a lighter turnout rug which can be worn when the weather warms up a little as well. The Rambo Duo Heavy Turnout is composed of waterproof and breathable 1000D ballistic nylon which is certainly the most durable turnout material available. Just when you thought it could not get any better, the inside lining is anti-static and anti-bacterial with a thermobonded fiberfill to ensure that heat is retained as long as possible.
As we discussed earlier, remember that it is important not to spoil your horse too much. I know that it can be tempting to rush out and pile another blanket over them as you enjoy your dinner by the fire. However it is important to remember not to cover him or her in too many horse rugs as this can actually cause your horse to overheat and make him or her dehydrated. Remember, a healthy horse who has shelte, is able to tough it out a little in winter if they are covered with a suitable turnout rug.
Learn how to measure your horse for a rug.
2. Make Sure that you Give Him or Her Enough Food
During this cold winter period it is important to ensure that your horse receives enough food in order to keep their calories up. When it is cold your horse will burn more calories in order to keep warm in this chilly weather. Consider increasing the amount of hay that he or she eats.
Hay is an excellent source of calories, which is also very high in fiber, which helps to keep your horse warm in winter. Another way to ensure that your beloved horse is in optimum condition and at their ideal weight, is to consider treating them to NAF Five Star Optimum Feed Balancer. The NAF Five Star Optimum will improve and maintain your horse’s health and make sure that he or she is in the best condition possible. If you are looking to maximise the nutritional value of your daily feed, then this is the ideal product for you. It is suitable for every horse from ponies to performance horses. We all enjoy indulging ourselves every now and then to get through the winter, so why not do the same for your horse?
3. Ensure your Horse Gets Enough Exercise
When the rain is lashing down outside and your hands have turned to ice, the last thing that you really want to do is go outside and ride your horse. Well, this isn’t really fair on your horse, is it? He or she has to brave the elements while you are tucked up in bed, so why not get out there and treat them how they deserve to be treated? It is essential to continue riding during the winter but if for some reason the extreme conditions make riding impossible, then make sure that you give him or her the chance to run around a field or paddock to get some exercise.
4. Take Care of His or Her Hooves
During the winter months it is essential to keep an eye on your horse’s hooves to ensure that damp hooves don’t become an issue. A lot of farriers often express annoyance with horse owners who neglect their duty to get their horse’s hooves trimmed during the winter months. Ideally your horse should get his or her hooves trimmed every six to eight weeks, and if possible, maybe even more regularly.
If you want to give your horse that extra level of protection from damp and moist bedding, then the Effol Winter Hoof Gel would be an ideal little treat for your horse. The blend of rich rosemary, cloves and babassu oils ensures that your horse’s hooves are fully protected and that your horse will be enjoying the beautiful smell flowing from their hooves all night long. Hopefully this will help give them a good night sleep as well!
5. Watch Out for Freezing Water
During winter it is important to make sure that your horse has access to clean, fresh water. He or she will become dehydrated if their water becomes frozen, remember that snow and ice are certainly no substitute for fresh water! You need to remember that your horse is at particular risk of impaction colonic if he or she does not have access to water at all times.
To make your life a little easier, and to stop yourself from falling over, you can invest in an expandable Horseware Easyhose, which enables you to keep your horse’s water regularly topped up and ice-free. The hoses are available in 2.5 metres and 7.5 metres and expand up to three times in length. If your horse is a mishievious type who likes to roll around in mud, then the Horseware Easyhose is also perfect for you; allowing you to give your horse a wash with minimal fuss.
Following these steps should keep your horse happy and healthy throughout the winter months – We all need a little extra love when it’s cold!
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