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5 Tip For Winterizing Your Horse

As the days get shorter and temperatures plummet, it’s time to turn our attention to prepping our horses for the cold winter months ahead. This means we have addressed and prepped our horses to ward off winter health concerns like respiratory disease, weight loss, thrush, and colic.

1. Vaccinate

More time spent in the stable means more time exposed to indoor air pathogens. Make sure your horse’s vaccinations are up-to-date to protect them against respiratory viruses like:

  • Influenza
  • Rhinopneumonitis
  • Strangles

2. Float Teeth

It takes more energy for your horse's body to stay warm in winter. Properly floated teeth will help your horse extract the maximum amount of nutrition from their feed. This additional “fuel” will keep them warmer and they will be less likely to drop weight over winter.

3. Keep Footing Dry

Horses left on damp or muddy footing are susceptible to thrush, so keep their stall bedding dry. In turnout areas, consider adding chit or screenings around gates, hay bales, and water troughs, which tend to get muddy.

4. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Your horse needs clean air to avoid respiratory diseases like inflammatory airway disease (IAD) or recurrent airway obstruction (heaves). Make sure the barn is well ventilated and horses get time in turnout. A clean, cold, crisp flow of air is healthier than stagnant, damp, warmer air.

5. Provide Clean Water

Horses must drink water to avoid intestinal impaction (colic). Frigid water, or water with floating ice, may deter your horse from drinking. Consider using bucket insulators or bucket heaters to keep water at a desirable temperature.

November 15, 2016

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