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Winter Weather Means Extra Attention for Horses
As winter weather approaches, we need to make sure that our horses are being cared for properly. Is there anything else we can do to keep them feeling comfortable and not cold and miserable. There are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure the safety and overall well being of your horse.
When a horse grows his winter coat, the hairs become longer and coarser, standing up rather tham laying flat against their skin. This enables the horse to "fluff them up," allowing air to be trapped close to the body and insulating him from the cold. In addition, grease accumulates in this thicker coat giving an added bit of insulation as well.
When mother nature decides to add cold rain and snow to the forecast, you need to be more poractive in your horses protection. If your horse is pastured, make sure there is shelter provided so that he may escape the elements. Even without snow and rain, the cold wind can be harmful for your precious animal. Though they have this natural defense to the cold weather, a blanket or rug is always an added layer of protection from the elements. Especially for horses that are clipped, the definitely need the protection. One should never leave a clipped horse unprotected during the winter months.
A horse's ability to adapt to the winter weather id dependant on his energy intake. A horse can keep himself warm by eating, and as this is the most natural way to keep him warm, he should have unlimited access to good, quality hay. This is the easiest way to ensure your horse will meet his dietary requirements.
It is just as important for your horse to have fresh water on a hot summer day as on a cold winter one. A constant supply of fresh water is essential as without it, he may not eat. Even if your horse's water is full of broken ice, he may not drink it. It may be too cold. A nice hot kettle of water added may be just enough to take the edge off.
As domesticated horses are more prone to impaction colics in the winter, if he is not drinking enough water, his chances increase.
These are the little things that we can do for our horses to ensure their own well being. They provide us with unconditional live and understanding, and we should do the same in return.