Winter Chill and Caring for your Horse

We’re finally seeing the cold weather we would ordinarily expect for Winter, with probably more to come, here are a few tips to keep yourself safe, make life a little easier and ensure your horse is as warm as can be.

Winter Prevention Measures

  • Lag pipes now to help prevent them freezing.
  • Remember to drain out pipes and hosepipes at the end of the day.
  • Put a ball in the water troughs to prevent them freezing over.
  • Buy in extra hay and feed in case you can not get supplies in due to snow.
  • Stock up on grit now. Always carry some in your car in case you need it – but ensure it’s in a sealed container as it is corrosive.
  • Keep antifreeze and WD-40 in your car.
  • In case of snow carry a blanket, torch and shovel and ensure your mobile phone always has some charge on it.

Safety

  • Beware the ice – do grit where possible or put down used straw to make a safe walkway for you and you horse
  • Beware the risks of heaters and putting clothing etc over them – whilst we are all trying to dry our gloves and socks and dry out our horse’s rugs we put ourselves at more risk of fire. Never dry or warm anything over an open flame and never leave clothing unattended on a heater.

Warmth

  • In winter, keep your horse as warm as it needs to be using rugs, stable bandages and deep beds.
  • If your horse is living out ensure there is a deep bed in the shelter and plenty of hay for it to eat. Remember a horse uses food to provide inner warmth.

Water

  • Ensure you break the ice of your horses’ water supply so that it can get to fresh water. Bring hoses in etc.
  • Your horse is more prone to impaction colic in this weather, so why not add some warm water to its feed to ensure it takes in enough water to ensure gut mobility.

Food in the Winter

  • Try to warm food before feeding if you are feeding wet products (ie, soaked foods such as sugar beet or mashes) rather then feed icy cold food. You can do this by just adding warm water.

Older Horses

  • Remember that older horses that are more restricted during the colder wetter weather are more prone to impaction colic. Because the water is cold they tend to drink less and this also increases the risk, so if you can’t keep the water above freezing then try putting water in their food to ensure that they are getting sufficient fluid intake.

The Less Fortunate Ones

  • Please do keep an eye on any horses near you that aren’t getting the care they should, and either help out as needed or report to one of the welfare groups. We provide more information on Horse Welfare here.

There is no let up in the horse welfare crisis in the UK. In fact the RSPCA only reported an increase just a week ago. Please continue with your support. We can only help these poor animals, if you help us.

Please make your donations to help us to help them here: https://www.remussanctuary.org/donate/.

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