As the days get shorter and temperatures plummet, it‚Äôs time to turn your attention to winterizing your horses for the cold season ahead. This means you have addressed and prepped your horses to ward off winter health concerns like respiratory disease, weight loss, thrush and colic.
At Mid-Rivers Equine Centre, we recommend all horse owners follow these 5 tips for winterizing your horses:
More time spent in the stable means more time exposed to indoor air pathogens. Make sure your horse‚Äôs vaccinations are up-to-date to protect them against respiratory viruses like:
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 ‚Äúfuel‚Äù 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.