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Six Steps To Take Care Of Your Horse In Winter

winter_horseWinter is upon us at Promontory in Park City, Utah, and fun snow activities are all around us.  In fact, with winter comes much excitement and thrill because there’s so much to do—skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and even horseback riding.

The wintery countryside is picturesque and pairing the landscape with a horseback ride makes for one incredible event. But, before horses can be ridden in the winter, we need to consider their care. 

If our horses are not prepped and ready for the change in weather, then we could find ourselves in a serious bind and do our horse a serious disservice. So, let’s consider some of the major ways to care for a horse during the winter:

1. Housing Is An Absolute Must:

Summer months are relatively hassle-free when it comes to prepping and caring for our horses’ quarters. When the winter months hit, however, we have to be a bit more proactive and careful about how we keep the horses.

Horses do well outside even during winter months and need to be out and active.  Just be certain that you have shelter for your horses for those times when winter weather becomes intense. The best shelter is one with three walls and a roof. Do not keep horses closed up with minimal airflow, as it can be damaging to their respiratory health.

A good tip is to leave the horse out during the day and bring him or her inside at night.

2. Horses Need Exercise In The Winter:

While humans, bears and other animals like to retreat during the cold months, horses need to maintain a certain level of activity in order to remain healthy. Continue to ride your horse on a regular basis during the winter months if the weather isn’t treacherous.

If you cannot ride your horse as much during winter months, make sure that they have a large pasture or paddock to explore and roam daily.  Remember, exercise is key all year, so don’t keep your horse from moving about, rather, help them get their natural desire to exercise.

3. Always Keep Water Unfrozen:

Horses need water just like humans need water to remain hydrated. However, if you leave water out in below-freezing temperatures, that won’t help your horse because they need unfrozen drinking water.

What can you do to keep water from freezing?

If you live in an area where temperatures remain below freezing for the winter, then you need to invest in special heating devices designed for horse troughs and watering.

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4. Horses Need The Same Care During The Winter:

The winter does bring holidays and family-fun for everyone, but horses cannot be neglected even though you may be visiting with family and friends because the weather can be fierce.

Horses need your attention for feeding, grooming, watering and exercise. It’s no simple task taking care of a horse, and there is no slacking in the winter months.

If you don’t have time to properly care for your horse during the winter, make sure you find someone who can help and allow them to assist you with all of the chores. Your horses need and deserve your attention and tending.

5. Increase Feed For Your Horses:

Lower temperatures means your horse will burn calories faster to keep itself warm.  Depending on your horses’ diet, you typically need to provide him or her with more feed during the winter to compensate for the amount of calories being burned to create heat.

Always consult with your veterinarian before making serious changes to your horse’s diet. A good rule of thumb is to increase feed during the winter to keep the horse from losing too much weight.

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6. Don’t Over Blanket A Horse:

It’s natural to want to blanket your horse like you would yourself during the winter months, but you can actually do more damage than good if you “over blanket” your horse.

If your horse has a full, natural winter coat, then you probably don’t need to blanket your horse and it depends on the weather, too.  If your horse has a full or partial body clip, then you will need to blanket somewhat during the wintertime.

The key is to provide proper shelter and nutrition during the winter months so that you don’t have to worry as much about blanketing.  That doesn’t mean you stop using a horse blanket, but keep it minimal and do everything else to care for your horse properly.

If a horse has too many blankets, then he or she can experience overheating, dehydration and rapid weight loss.

Horseback Riding in Park City, Utah & Promontory:

A winter wonderland is always a beautiful time to saddle up a horse and go for a ride.  Horses need the exercise and a ride in the winter can be a memorable experience for the entire family.  Go for a scenic ride with your loved ones or try a delightful stroll through the countryside.

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Promontory Loves Horses:

When you board your horses at Promontory’s world-class Equestrian Center, our staff makes sure that your horse receives full luxury treatments and is given excellent care.  We make owning a horse easy so that you can relax and also enjoy life’s luxuries, including your four-legged friend.

Promontory delivers exceptional Park City equestrian experiences year round for the whole family.  Take to the hills with a beautiful horse and enjoy everything Utah has to offer this fantastic time of year.  For more information on our equestrian programs and facility call us at 435-333-CLUB or visit our website at www.promontoryclub.com

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