Keep Your Horse Healthy & Happy as the Weather Gets Colder
Grant, one of our Showroom Managers gave us a little insight into how he helps prepare his horses for the colder months ahead.
As our temperatures begin to drop, and Autumn (not to mention Winter) sets in, there are a number of things we should keep in mind regarding horse health. I pay special attention to water consumption during these times. If your horse’s water consumption tends to wane in the colder weather, your horse will be at a much greater risk of colic.
Some of the precautions I take include watering down my horses’ hay and grain, filling water buckets with warm water, and making use of products such as Purina’s Hydration Hay and Standlee’s Alfalfa Pellets (soaked). Soaking a forage product is a great way to increase water consumption AND help your horse regulate temperature while providing extra calories. Remember, forage requirements can increase by as much as thirty percent during the winter months!
Often horses are stalled more during this time of year than the summer months. I try to preserve my pasture’s root system by keeping my horses inside during periods of sloppy, wet weather. While this is great for the pasture, my horses will be under more stress than when they are freely grazing. One of the ways to combat this extra stress is to toss more hay. I need to do all I can to keep their forage intake up, which means I need to keep hay in front of them as much as possible when they are inside. Of course, when they trample all over their hay and waste it, my stress level tends to increase!
One of my solutions is to use slow feed hay nets. These are incredible! They not only slow down the rate of consumption, and allow the horse to mimic a more natural grazing rate, the slow feeders also keep the stalls much, much cleaner.
I also supplement my horse’s diet with Gut Health by Basic Equine Health. While my show horses are on this product throughout the year, I will add it to my retired and young horses’ diet during the fall and winter months as well. The product works by simply raising the pH in the stomach and hind gut (where forage is digested). Gut Health helps prevent ulcers, reduce stress, and build hind gut environments conducive to beneficial bacterial populations.