ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Take Care of a Horse in Winter

Updated on May 21, 2013
Source

I looked out my window this morning, and everything was coated in a quarter inch of ice! Just the other day it was fort five degrees, but that's New England weather for you...

Humans have many ways to adjust to drastic weather changes. We live in temperature controlled environments, and can don or remove layers of clothing at will. However, our horses cannot. A horse will adapt to the weather and grow a winter coat, but there are several things that you will need to do for your horse during the winter.

Blanketing and Clipping

Left unblanketed and on full turn out, a healthy horse should grow a sufficient winter coat. However, once you begin blanketing or leaving the horse in at night, you must continue to do this throughout the winter, because you have prevented the horse from growing their own protection against the cold.

If you do not ride during the winter, it is best to leave the horse on full turn-out, and let him grow a natural winter coat. If you do plan on riding over the winter, you'll have to prevent the horse from growing a thicker coat by blanketing or shaving him because the winter hair causes the horse to sweat and stay wet, which can be dangerous in cold winter weather.

A blanket may also be necessary if the horse is turned out in cold, wet conditions. The horse's coat will not keep him as warm when it is wet, and he will appreciate the extra warmth of a blanket.

It is very important that you have a few different blankets that you can change out for heavier or lighter weights. Always fit the blanket to your horse so that no rubs or sores are formed. Find out more about fitting a horse blanket.

Shaving a horse for the winter is a commitment. You'll need full body clippers and an assortment of blankets to protect the horse from the cold. Find out more about styles and techniques for clipping a horse.

Food and Water

Water

If it's cold enough, water will freeze! Your horse needs water available him at all times, so you must plan to regularly replace or heat the water. This can be difficult because hoses freeze, and carrying water from a faucet in the house can build good muscles... but it's also very exhausting.

If at all possible, set your horse's source of water up next to an electric outlet and place a water heater in the tank. Make sure that the heater is appropriate for the amount of water in the tank, and keep the water at an appropriate level so that the heater is never exposed.

Food

On particularly cold winter nights, your horse will appreciate some extra hay. All warm blooded animals expend energy in order to keep warm, and the best way to replace energy is through food calories. During very cold winters, extra grain during regular feeding and free choice, high quality hay will keep your horse from losing weight.

Shelter

Your horse always needs a cozy shelter to escape the wind and rain, but the shelter is especially important in the winter. A three sided shelter which blocks the wind and is filled with comfortable, dry bedding is sufficient. If you have several horses, be mindful that the lowest on the totem pole may not be allowed in the shelter. In very nasty weather, it is a good idea to lock the horses in a stall if possible.

Source

Shoeing

Once there is snow on the ground, you may notice strange icy clumps that look suspiciously like the bottom of your horses hoof...

This is because the snow will pack into the concave area beneath the horses hoof and turn into an icy clump, and should naturally fall out of the hoof. However, if your horse wears shoes, the snow packs into the bottom of the hoof and does not fall out, causing the horse to slip and can even cause bruising on the sole or the frog.

In the short term you can pick out your horses feet, but to prevent the snow from packing you will have to ask your farrier for snow pads or rims.

If you are concerned about your horse slipping in icy conditions, you can also ask your farrier to add studs to the shoes for extra traction. However, if your horse is turned out with other horses, studs can be dangerous if your horse kicks another horse.

If you notice that your horse is losing weight over the winter months, consider feeding more, blanketing, or keeping your horse inside at night. They'll be much more comfortable!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Interesting hub! I had no idea horses grew winter coats and even more interesting that if they are covered the hair does not grow. Nice hub again. Shared.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)