Cold Weather Care

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.

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