It isn’t uncommon for a horse to lose weight during the winter freeze. There are several reasons this may be happening, and it’s important to monitor your horse’s weight closely throughout the winter. Here are 4 tips to make sure that your horse stays healthy this winter.
1. Increase Their Feed
Winter for your horse is accompanied by an increased metabolism. With the extra energy needed to keep their bodies at a comfortable temperature, they have to increase their food consumption. Ensure you are feeding them high quality hay, and consider providing free-choice hay. This will ensure that your horse is eating enough to stay warm during the winter. Any changes to feed should be introduced over a period of several weeks to allow the horse’s digestive system to adjust.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Dehydration
An increased consumption of food necessarily means an increased consumption of water. Water is needed for your horse to properly digest food. Many horses don’t like drinking cold water in the winter, so keeping your horse hydrated can be difficult. A Bar-Bar-A System can help, by allowing your horse access to water whenever they need. The system also ensures the water will be at an enjoyable temperature for the horse.
3. Ensure Proper Blanketing
Give your horse all the tools he needs to stay warm this winter. If he’s blanketed and is still shivering, get a thicker blanket. Make sure you check that the blanket isn’t too warm when switching blankets. Check under the horse’s blanket daily to monitor weight.
Although it is difficult during the winter, try and keep your horse doing some form of activity. This will help him maintain his muscle mass. The transition back to springtime exercise will be easier, as well.
Contact the Horse Drinker to discuss more ways to prevent winter weight loss and learn more about keeping your horse hydrated over the winter.