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5 Tips for Snow Days

We don't get it often but snow days aren't so much fun when you are a horse owner. Read below for tips and advice on making it through cold snaps!


 




Forage

Most importantly, make sure that your horse has access to forage especially if they are turned out.


It is best to put out large piles of hay or haylage in a sheltered area of the field, make sure there is at least one pile per horse if horses are likes to fight. Horses are grazers and require constant access to forage to maintain proper gut health as well as also helping to keep them warm


 

Hydration

Every year vets see an increase in colic cases following ice and snow usually due to impaction as a result of reduced water consumption.


Horses often do not drink as much during cold snaps which can affect their gut and cause a build-up of dry forage, especially if the cold weather has disrupted their usual routine.


As always, make sure that your horse always has access to clean water and ensure that you have broken and removed any ice

Adding warm water to water buckets can encourage your horse to drink

Add extra water to hard feeds or offer a wet mash to get extra water on board

If you soak hay, make sure that it has not frozen. Prevent this by allowing it the drain thoroughly.


In extreme cases where you know that your horse has not drunk anything, add small amounts of sugar-free apple juice to a small bucket of water, or use a post-competition electrolyte sachet.


If your horse appears lethargic, distressed or begins to show signs of colic, contact your vet immediately


 

Shoes

Deep, sticky snow can become impacted in horseshoes which could lead to injury. Horses in snow-prone countries will have snow pads fitted to their shoes in winter months to prevent build-up, but as we get snow once in a blue moon, our shoes are not designed to deal with this.


Make sure that you remove any large clumps of ice from your horse's shoes with a hoof pick or warm water if it is especially wedged in!


 

Shelter


Shelter is especially important for those horses who are turned out 24/7 to give them so rest bite and a place to sleep. This does not have to be anything fancy, a good thick hedge or overhanging tree will do nicely to shield them from the worst of the weather.


If your horses are rugged, check them regularly to make sure that they are still dry underneath. Don’t be tempted to over-rug as this can cause sweating and lead to further dehydration.


 

Slipping

And last of all from a physios perspective, if your horse is prone to aerial acrobatics in the field….. consider giving them a duvet day where they can’t risk slipping, doing the splits or finding any other way to cause you a vet bill!!


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