The first snow has fallen.
Well, okay, the white fluffy stuff hasn’t coated the streets here in D.C. just yet (and it would turn grey within hours), but snow has already covered more than a third of the country as far south as northern New Mexico.
Veteran horse owners know that the beauty of a snowfall is only so deep; underneath the snow lies the challenges of winter, which can have negative impacts on our horses’ health and wellbeing. Newer owners, however, may not be aware of the many issues that winter brings, or how to deal with them. For those of you who have weathered more winters than you care to count, consider reaching out to those new to the industry to help ensure they and their horses are prepared so everyone can enjoy the snowy season.
There are many articles available online about keeping horses healthy through the winter months. I’m including four of them here. They all focus on the importance of water intake, shelter, and increased forage, especially when the mercury takes a dive. They also remind us that foot care and exercise remain important all year round.
Just for fun: Take a moment to see if you can answer the following questions.
Horses in good body condition with a long winter coat can withstand temperatures down to _____ (without wind or rain).
Which of the following will keep horses from drinking enough water?
Did you know the answers?
It never hurts to review the recommendations and guidelines about winter care. Again, please share them with those who are new to horse ownership because proper winter care is part of owning responsibly.
Have a happy, healthy holiday season and keep those horses happy too!
Winter Weather Care, by Dr. Tom Lenz, American Association of Equine Practitioners
Cold Weather Colic, by Dr. Scott Leibsle, American Association of Equine Practioners
Equine Winter Care, Marcia Hathaway, PhD and Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota
Winter Horse Care Tips for Owners, Kentucky Horse Council