Caring For Your Pony In Winter

Generally horses conform well to seasonal changes. But you do want to make their life less complicated to the extent that you can during the cold months of cold hard winds. It just wants a bit of extra care, as shown below.

1. In winter, pasture availability goes down, as does quality. Compensate by giving your horses more hay. Additional hay is a good source of heat, and thus it is better to increase hay proportions instead of proportions of concentrated feed during winter. Digestion of hay occurs in the cecum and the colon, where heat is generated because of bacteria-based fermentation.

2. Just before winter sets in, call over your horse’s dentist to give him a total check up. If your pony isn’t breaking down her food efficiently, she could be losing out on the full nutrient and energy value of the food. Heat springs from energy, which in turn is extracted from food.

3. Ensure your horses benefit from a windbreak, whether or not they’re housed in a stable overnite. The windbreak does not need to be fancy: even a stand of closely packed trees or some dense shrubbery will serve.

4. Use blankets when the weather turns especially wet, breezy or frigid. Rather like a down jacket that gets wet, the coat on your pony can loose residence and fail to keep body heat if wet. You’ll also need to provide blankets for horses of advanced age, clipped horses and horses not accustomed to cold.

5. Take off the blanket every day and carry out a thorough check for blanket-induced chafing or irritation. Make sure to give your horses adequate grooming in the winter. Heat retention and insulation qualities are considerably diminished with unclean and matted coats.

6. Whether or not you keep your pony in a stall at night, give her a blanket during extremely cold weather. Wild horses keep on the go, forage and huddle together to maintain body temperatures. Since this isn’t possible for a stalled pony, additional provision needs to be made to ensure her body temperatures stay constant.

7. Make sure the barn has satisfactory but indirect ventilation. Direct drafts are not going to do any good. If the floors are of cement, cover them with rubber matting to extend the insulation potential. You can use additional bedding.

8. Keep the horses well supplied with water. Make sure the water is not too cold or chilly, because horses will avoid drinking it regardless of if they want to. That way, they’re inviting dehydration issues.

9. Keep an eye open for pools that have frozen in the vicinity of the horses, water troughs. Such puddles can be fatal for the horses. Cover them with a sprinkling of alfalfa meal. Alfalfa improves traction because of its texture and is rich in nitrogen, which expedites melting. You can also save money by utilizing ashes from your fire place and just plain sand or dirt.

10. Maintain your horses’ hooves in top condition. When they are well trimmed, they will not chip much, won’t hold as much snow and will permit a better grip.

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