Prepare your horse for winter and keep her comfortable all season long with these top vet-approved tips.
Food and Water
Your horse needs plenty of water to drink in winter, which helps keep him hydrated and wards off impaction colic. Provide warm water through heated buckets or use a grounded water heating system.
Also stock up on good-quality hay, just in case drought impacts available supply. There’s no need to change your horse’s diet in the wintertime, but extra calories will help her stay warm. The most beneficial calories come from hay rather than grain, because internal warmth is generated by forage fermentation.
The shelter should offer a dry place to stand even through the rain and snow, and reduce wind speeds by placing one solid side against the prevailing winter wind. A three-sided shed that’s open to the south works well.
Make sure your structure is in good condition, with roofing solidly in place and nails embedded in the wood to remove sharp protrusions. An ideal size is at least 8 feet tall, with openings a good 10 feet wide.
You might want to let your horse’s coat grow out naturally for the winter, in which case a blanket isn’t usually required. But if you need to clip his coat for showing or hunting, or if your horse is very old or young, a blanket will keep him warm — as long as you choose a breathable one that prevents too much sweating. Depending on the weather, you might want to blanket your horse only at night, but if he’s shivering or appears cold, he will benefit from wearing it all day.
Inspect your blankets to ensure they are clean and in good repair, without any tears that can snag or become entangled. If you need a new blanket this winter, Jeffers offers a variety of sizes, materials, colors and styles, from turnout blankets to stable sheets and hoods. Check out our selection and choose the one best suited to your climate and needs.