Caring For Your Horse During The Winter
When you care for your horse, it is important to make preparations for the winter months. Horses need to be able to tolerate the cold weather and stay as healthy as possible. During the winter horses will have special needs which you as the owner will have to address. It is important to prepare for winter in advance.
Horses are naturally tolerant to cold weather. In fact, horses handle cold weather much better than hot weather. Despite this, there are some basic things owners will want to do to make sure their horses stay healthy. You will want to make sure the horse doesn't have any parasites, and has been immunized. The costs for doing these things will greatly pay off during the winter. The costs of feeding the horse will be lower.
You may also want to work with your vet in setting up a health plan for your horse. Preparing your horse for cold weather will help it lower the need to eat large amounts of food in order to maintain its weight. Your horse should never lose weight during the winter. Allowing your horse to gain a small amount of weight will help them during the winter months, as the extra fat will work as a cushion to provide the horse with energy when it becomes stressed. During the winter you will want to give your horse some extra calories.
The best protection for a horse during the winter is its natural winter coat. When it is allowed to grow, it will act as a natural heat blanket which will reduce the loss of heat that the horse experiences in cold environments. The coat is also slick and will brush off snow and ice. If you keep your horses outside, you will want to make sure their coats grow long before winter.
To check the condition of your horse, you will want to rub its ribs. A large winter coat can easily hide the fact the horse may be losing weight. Your horse should weigh enough that you are not able to see the ribs but can feel them when touching the horse. Your also want to feel the ears of the horse. Do they feel cold? If so, this is a sign that the horse is cold.
Like all animals which are warm-blooded, horses must maintain their body temperature in order to survive. It is important that they conserve heat during the winter, and as the owner you must make preparations to make sure they're healthy.
Michael Colucci is an experienced horse competitor and writes articles for HorseGathering.com and HorsePasture.net [http://www.horsepasture.net]
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