Extreme Weather Tips!
Continue turnout unless it is very icy. In deep snow, older horses or horses with lameness or neurologic issues may need to be kept in, or have limited turnout.
-Try to provide a water source that is warmed and convenient for them to reach. If not warmed, REMOVE ice from troughs and buckets at least 2 times a day. Do not rely on streams for water in the winter.
-Put salt on feed and hay to encourage them to drink.
-Cut grain if they are going to be in or not moving around much. Do not increase grain!
-DO NOT OVER FEED HAY. Feed the normal amount only. You can increase after 5-7 days gradually.
-Monitor manure production if possible. If not passing manure, decrease food offered drastically.
-If in a stall, hand walk 10 min/2-3 times a day in available areas.
-Monitor alpha/head horse(s) for bullying, remove if guarding water, feed or shelter.
-Do not close up the barn. Keep at least some windows or doors open for ventilation.
-In an ice storm, keep horses in until the ice has melted. If they must be out, provide traction with manure, shavings, ashes, hay or sand. Remove shoes or tape feet with elastikon for traction.
-Remember, a hungry horse is better than a colicky horse!
-Make sure your emergency medications are on hand.
- Water – A heated source of water will increase water consumption. There are many different types of heaters available. The best ones for troughs are those made to fit in the drain holes of the troughs. There are also individually heated buckets. For older horses with sensitive teeth, heated water is much preferred by them. A leading cause of intestinal impaction colic is a decrease in water consumption. Soaking hay and feed can also increase water consumption.
- Turnout in the winter is very important to maintain regularly. It may feel cold to you, but horses are designed to live outside. Additionally, their GI system is directly affected by how much time they spend walking. If they do not walk, their GI system slows down. If the GI system slows down, they can get intestinal impactions and/or colic. The only weather that should keep a horse from going out in is thick ice on the ground. Keep them out! You will see me less!
- Salt: Even though it is cold, your horse still needs salt.