Prep List: Horse Care from Autumn into Winter
Forward thinking has long been the saviour of many pole explorers and horse owners.
Autumn lends itself to considering our current horse care practices and how to amend these as we go into winter.
Of course, challenges vary at the same rhythm as the weather and having less daylight hours to deal with these, means that pre-planning becomes critical.
Apart from investing in high viz clothing for both you and your horse, here are some additional autumn horse care tips that we thought may be helpful to assist in your preparation:
- Routines are to be changed gradually. Your horse will most probably have less turnout time and more time in the stable. Introduce this change in routine slowly to limit your horse’s stress reaction.
- Adequate shelter checks. If you are not rugging, take inventory of your land: Are there enough trees or natural shelter that your horse can seek cover when the weather makes a turn for the worst?
- Paddocks should be in good condition with no gaps in the fences. Fireworks is a huge anxiety trigger during this time of the year. Ensure that your horse can’t hurt himself as he panics or tries to escape. Remember that strong winds and rain can weaken existing structures, so reinforcing fencing is a good idea.
- Horses, just like kids, hate to be cooped up all day. Boredom can be avoided with toys and licks to keep your horse’s feet and mind occupied when stabled.
- Wrapping pipes and taps can prevent them against winter frost and freezing over.
- Do not turn your horse out on frosty grass to avoid colic. As the cool nights and warm days of autumn can lead to an accumulation of sugars in the grass, laminitis is also a very real concern.
- The best way to prevent mud fever is to manage the mud. Adding hardcore to gateways or other areas your horses spend most of their time may be helpful. Should this already be an issue, read here how to manage this with the help of poultices.
- Between September and October tapeworm should be addressed in your worming schedule. Between November and February, but only after the first frost of the season, you should treat for encysted small redworm.
- Watch out for and, if possible, pick up any acorns and sycamore seeds that your horse may ingest. Ideally, these areas should be fenced off, so your horse do not have access.
- As the grass loses some of its nutritional value at the transition from autumn to winter, deficiencies in vitamin and minerals is often encountered. Consider adding a vitamin supplement to your horse’s diet that will address any nutrient deficiencies, but also boost their immune system for the winter months.
Horses with arthritis, those suffering with respiratory illnesses or recovering from injury, often take winters a lot harder. Offering your horse the needed vitamin C boost to address any deficiency and build his defenses for the coming season, Elite Equine 100% Organic Rosehip Supplement is the ideal autumn-to-winter add on.
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