Seasonal Care

winter horse, horse cough, horse repiratory, equine copd, equine respiratory, equine cough, equine winter health, horse health, equine science, Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews - It's not just horseback riders that cough and wheeze at this time of year. Respiratory problems are common in horses as well. Loss of performance may be the first sign that something is wrong. Mildly affected animals may cough occasionally when eating or when starting work. As the condition gets worse they may cough almost continuously.

Your Horse's Winter Energy Needs, forages is the perfect energy source for Your horse, optimize your winter feeding regime, sources of equine energy, Shelagh Niblock, BSc.Ag., PAS

When the days start getting shorter, horse owners know that winter is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about winter feeding regimes. Feeding horses in virtually all parts of Canada during the winter months involves a need for increased energy intake because of cold temperatures and inclement weather. The amount of additional energy required by your horse will be even greater in extremely cold climates.

equine laminitis, horse laminitis, nsc, acth, horse pituitary gland, horse metabolic syndrome, equine metabolic syndrome, horse hay analysis, juliet getty

Horses are more likely to suffer from laminitis in the fall than at any other time of year. Two reasons are the high NSC (non-structural carbohydrates) from cooler nighttime temperatures and increased blood ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) secretion from the pituitary gland. Both of these lead to elevated insulin.

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Just as humans can be burned by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, light coloured horses may suffer from sunburn. Even horses with dark coats can be vulnerable to sunburn if they have white markings on their faces or legs.

Making Electrolytes Smart - Does your horse have a drinking problem? Good hydration is not just about how much a horse drinks, it’s also about how the water is used internally. A properly hydrated horse with balanced electrolytes will be healthier and perform better. A dehydrated horse is at increased risk of impaction colic and reduced athletic potential.

horse dehydration, equine sweating, horse overheating

Remember the Electrolytes - As we hit the hottest portion of the summer, we’re witnessing our horses’ attempts to keep cool by sweating. The process of sweating causes a decrease in core temperature through evaporative cooling at the skin surface. As high energy molecules evaporate from the skin, releasing energy absorbed from the body, the skin and superficial vessels decrease in temperature. Cooled venus blood then returns to the body’s core and counteracts rising core temperatures.

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.

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