The Winter “Whoa’s” of Horse Care

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Horses can stay happy and healthy with the right winter care.

Surviving winter with horses in the upper midwest can be difficult. Here are a few tips for caring for your horses when the snow starts to fly:

Feed for heat: As the temperature drops, your horse burns more calories to stay warm. Hay not only provides calories, but is an excellent source of fiber, which provides heat during the digestive process. Increase the quantity of hay you offer your horse as the days get colder.

Make sure EVERYONE has access to the hay: Have more hay feeders or put out more piles of hay than there are horses in each pasture to ensure even the low ranking horses get plenty to eat.

Snow and ice are no substitute for water: Make sure your horses always have access to clean, fresh water. A horse will not stay properly hydrated if his water is frozen. In fact, studies show horses prefer warm water, so investing in a bucket heat is well worth the money. The incidence of impaction colic increases in the coldest months; ensuring your horse stays hydrated is smart prevention.