Horses are strong and resilient animals, but winter weather can have an adverse effect on their health much like it can on humans’. Usually, horses can stay perfectly healthy throughout the winter, but a lack of proper food, water and shelter can change things for the worse. Additionally, very young or old horses, as well as horses that are already sick, are more susceptible to winter-related health conditions.
There are a few common ailments that tend to afflict horses during cold periods. It’s important for any horse owner to be able to identify the signs of these ailments to help fix the problem as soon as possible.
If you own a horse, stocking up on some particular horse supplies in Montana can help your beloved horse avoid these six health problems:
- Dehydration: One of the most common horse health problems in winter is dehydration. Some horse owners fill their troughs with water without considering a heating element, so the water freezes into ice. Then, horses aren’t able to drink their water, leading to dehydration. Add a heating element or check on the water frequently to prevent this issue.
- Colic: Colic, or severe abdominal pain, can be caused by a variety of things and is more common in horses during the winter. Horses suffering from colic may have a loss in appetite, appear depressed and lose weight.
- Respiratory issues: When the weather turns cold and wet, conditions inside your stable may play host to damp or moldy hay and accumulated dust, creating respiratory problems for horses. Barns should be adequately ventilated to reduce your horses’ risk of developing lung problems.
- Joint stiffness: Horses tend to stiffen up in the winter because the cold weather can wreak havoc on arthritic joints. Horses also tend to be exercised less in the winter, which can result in the stiffening of joints. Make sure your horse has room to move and gets regular exercise throughout the season.
- Injury: Riding or letting your horse walk on ice may lead to injury if the horse slips and falls. One or more of its limbs may become lame, and your horse will walk differently to avoid putting weight on the painful leg.
- Hoof problems: Icy and snowy conditions pose a challenge to your horse’s hooves because they might not be able to stay clear and dry. If this happens, your horse may be at increased risk of thrush or other hoof-related diseases. “Mud fever,” or a bacterial infection of the legs, can also occur if the skin is not cleaned after winter riding.
As winter weather approaches, keep a close eye on all of your horses, but particularly on those that are very young, quite old, sick or that have recently moved from a warmer climate. Make sure you’re prepared with adequate supplies and stay on top of making your horses’ shelter, food and water sufficient.
Down Home Tack & Feed LLC is your one-stop shop for all horse supplies in Montana. We carry a wide selection of horse riding essentials, as well as grooming supplies and animal feed. Visit us today!
Categorised in: Horse Equipment