Winter Horse Care Tips

Horses have been surviving brutal winters in the wild for centuries. Today, humans have the ability to make their horses comfortable in even the coldest and most brutal winter conditions. As many parts of the United States prepare for yet another snow storm, the staff at took a look through our archives to find some important winter horse care articles that can help you keep your horses happy and healthy this winter.

Click on the links below to view the articles in full.

Winter Respiratory Health
If a horse is confined in a barn during winter, he is at risk for respiratory problems. Heaves is the most common respiratory ailment in horses that are confined indoors or fed dusty hay. It is most common in adult horses since prolonged exposure to respiratory irritants brings on the reaction. The breathing difficulty is due to inflammation and swelling that narrows the air passages. Winter Hoof Care for Horses
It's here. Maybe it's where you are, too. Snow, ice, wind ... and worry. How do you know what to do to protect your horses when bad weather sets in? What can you do to prepare yourself, and your horses? Here are a few tips.

Internal Combustion
Horses can be amazingly hardy. On a below-freezing day, your horse can stay warm and snug. So warm, in fact, that if you put your bare hands into his coat, you can actually warm them up. It's hard to imagine how a horse can keep himself comfortable when you are bundled up in so many layers it looks as if you could mount an expedition to the Arctic Circle.

Winter Stress
Winter weather can be responsible for stress that compromises a horse's health. The good news is that we, as caretakers, can alleviate that stress or even prevent it from occurring in the first place. Of course for some animals, such as show horses, one season is pretty much like another. They are housed in heated barns and are kept under blankets except when they are performing. The same isn't true of trail horses which are "put up" for the winter or for racehorses in certain parts of the country which are expected to perform as well in the cold of winter as they do in the heat of summer, or for horses which show, then are put outside.

Winter Shelter
On those long winter nights, when frigid winds chill to the bone and snow or sleet or cold rain makes outdoor activities decidedly miserable, most of us like nothing better than to curl up with a good book and a steaming-hot beverage. Every now and then, we pull aside the curtains and press our noses to the chilly windowpanes and feel doubly glad that we're snug and safe inside and that our beloved horses are out in their field.

Wintering a Geriatric Horse
Depending on where you live, your equine companions might have to tough it through harsh conditions in the winter months. No matter their age, most horses entering the winter season in good condition will do fine on the same routine with only minor changes. But what about the geriatric horse? Wintering the geriatric horse is somewhat more challenging, but can be successfully accomplished.

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Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.