Keep on top of horse health in winter with these simple tips
Winter can be a challenging season for us all, mostly due to the drop in the temperature and the lack of outdoor activities. This also applies to our four-legged friends, who require a bit of extra horse health care during the wetter and colder months of the year.
Here are some simple ways to keep your horse in top condition during winter:
- Exercising your horse daily – fairly standard tip we know, however the more mobile your horse is in winter, the less likely they are to suffer with stiffness or lameness through a decrease in daily exercise. Just bear in mind that if it’s horrible out and you’re going to hate riding in the weather then your horse will probably hate being out in it too. A short lunging session can stretch legs or a spin on a horse walker can help if you’re in a rush or the weather is particularly horrible. eqmedic’s Synomedic+ helps to keep your horse sound and supple especially those with existing arthritis or problematic joints.
- Try to encourage mobility and circulation by spreading their hay to different areas across the stable so they have to move to find it.
- Regular full body checks are also essential, especially if the horse is living outside. With mud fever season in full swing (though we should probably say snow season after the ‘Snowmageddon’ lately), try minimising any possible mud sources and ensure legs are kept dry by towel drying and applying a barrier cream.
- Due to the lack of fresh grass, ensure they’re provided a good amount of hay and fresh water (break up any ice and add a small amount of warm water if necessary), to sustain its energy levels and allow for the adequate storage of its fat reserves. The digestive process will also help retain your horse’s core temperature and keep it warm.*
- Keep your horse snug and warm with rugs (especially if its clipped) and stable bandages which help with distal limb circulation and prevent leg ‘filling’.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements added to feed will also help with boosting horse health. Our haemedic+ gel is very useful in winter as it contains over 16 rapidly absorbable vitamins, stimulates red cell production, prevents tying-up, has a boosting action on the immune system and stimulates the appetite
*Careful however not to slip towards overfeeding, as this could lead to dangerous horse health conditions like equine obesity or laminitis. While a common rule of thumb is feeding your horse about 2,5% of its total bodyweight, keep in mind that every horse should receive a bespoke food diet depending on his age, condition and workload. Do not hesitate to seek advice from an equine professional when in doubt.