Seasonal Care

hores body condition scores horse, Reconditioning Horse, spring horse riding, get a horse fit, horse feed change, equine fitness, horse exercise, overworked horse

As we welcome the transition from winter to spring, we are eager to get back in the saddle and start riding regularly again. Canadian winters are not sympathetic to outdoor riding, and without access to indoor facilities many horse owners have not been able to ride or exercise their horses as much as they would like during the winter months. Bringing horses back into work after their winter vacation must be done gradually by starting at a lower level and increasing the duration and intensity of workouts. At the same time, the horse’s feed should be adjusted to address his present body condition (too thin or too fat) as well as nutrient requirements for the increased workload.

winter riding, cooling out horse, horse snow, riding in show, cold weather riding

You’ve just returned from an invigorating winter’s ride, your horse enjoyed prancing through the powdery snow, and with the sun shining you didn’t notice the nip in the air. But now your sweaty horse is steaming and with the sun slipping behind the horizon, winter’s chill is fast returning….After a winter workout, a 10 to 15 minute walk will not only guard against muscle soreness, it is essential to allow the horse’s skin to dry. But one method does not fit all. Your winter cool-out regime will be different depending on a number of factors including whether your horse is clipped, blanketed or “au naturel”; whether he lives inside or outside; and the intensity of your workout.

horse in winter, winter horse shelter, winter hoof care, winter horse feed

By Lynn Baber - Horses who are acclimated to severe winter weather usually do well with their natural haircoats and the care experienced owners provide. However, if you are new to horse ownership or new to the weather outside your window this year, here is a short list of tips to get through till the mercury rises and the sun comes out.

mud fever horses, equine mud fever, supplements for equine mud fever, vetcur, stone hedge farms, Cur1, DiVet, ImVet

This time of year it is a constant battle with the mud and our horses are at risk of getting mud fever. Mud fever is not a single disease but can come in different forms. The condition occurs especially in warm, wet weather, and is certainly not limited to horses that are paddling in knee-deep mud. Mud fever starts off with dry crusts, which are caused by the inflamed skin weeping. The condition can range from a mild skin irritation to very painful infected sores, and can in some cases cause significant swelling with severe lameness.

feeding horse in winter, winter horse feeding, low quality hay, water temperature horse, pregnant horse nutrition, foal nutrition

Most horses have some “down time” in winter, when adverse weather will not permit much riding or showing activity. A reduction in your horse’s activity level usually means a reduced need for calories, and requirements for grain or concentrate feeding can be lowered. During the winter season, temperatures typically fall below that necessary for pasture grass to grow. Pastures become rapidly depleted of natural forage and horses must increasingly rely on their owners to provide them with a nutritionally adequate diet. To properly feed a horse during the winter months the key factors of water, fibre, and essential nutrients must be addressed.

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There is nothing quite like heading out for a hack on an invigoratingly clear winter’s day with a horse eager to power through the snow. Riding through the winter is not only fun – it benefits your equine partner by keeping him physically and mentally fit year-round.

equine electrolytes, riding in the winter, wendy pearson, herbs for horses

Q: Since it’s cold out and my horse doesn't sweat much when I ride him, should I still give him electrolytes?

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