How To Prepare Your Horse For Winter

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Many horse owners deal with cold temperatures, snow, and icy conditions in winter. This weather can be difficult on horses and their riders. With fall coming to an end, it’s important that you prep your barn and get ready for this challenging weather ahead. Make yourself a checklist!

Winter Horse Prep

Evaluate your horse’s condition: What is your horse’s body condition score? If they’re too thin, then you might want to adjust their feed intake. A skinny horse will struggle to stay warm when temperatures drop.

Get their blankets in order: Not all horses will need blankets, but for those that do you’ll want to double check fit. You may also need to re-waterproof some of them.

Pull out your heated buckets: Horses prefer to drink warm water between 45° to 65° F. Frozen buckets can be a nightmare to deal with, so make sure you have a way to keep the water warm.

Your horse needs shelter: On those cold, wet days, your horse will need a run-in shelter, stall, or trees to escape to.

Double check lighting: It gets dark early in the winter. You’ll want to have interior barn lights, outside lights, and/or headlamps.

Be ready for snow and ice: Do you have a way to remove ice from walkways? What about heavy snowfalls? It’s important you have a plan in place for how you’ll tackle these situations.

Exercise is good: Your horse can still benefit from being ridden. You’ll want to have a longer warm up and cool down. You should also be cautious of slippery footing.

winter horses COWGIRL magazine
Snow falling on a horse field. Photo by Courtney Smith.

What are your favorite winter weather tips?

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