When extreme cold weather grips the Great Lakes Bay Region, we at Saginaw Valley Equine Clinic remind you to take extra care in ensuring your horse’s safety. Among our recommendations:
- Routine: Maintain your horses’s normal schedule as much as possible. The changes in a horse’s routine can cause as many or more adverse effects, such as colic, as the weather itself.
- Shelter: When a horse is wet, its hair no longer acts as insulation. So shelter from wind and moisture is a must in the form of a barn or run-in shed. Shelter floors should be raised so that horses have a dry spot to stand. In general, horses should be outside during the day and brought in during extreme cold.
- Food: A horse’s energy needs to increase in extreme cold: about 1% for each degree below 18°F. So if the temperature is 0°F, a 1,000-pound idle adult horse would need approximately 2 additional pounds of forage (i.e. hay) daily.
- Water: Keep fresh water between 45°F and 65°F to maximize consumption. Check for and break any ice at least twice per day. Most adult horses require 10-12 gallons of water each day.
- Hooves: Clean mud from your horse’s hooves daily to prevent thrush. A few hours on dry land each day or a night in a dry stall can help prevent problems.
If you have any questions about helping your horse in the cold, do not hesitate to contact us at (989) 790-7339.