Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Is Here

I left a couple of post here last year reminding everyone to remember how hard cold weather is on our equine friends, but I wanted to reinterate a few of things again this year. Personally, I don't care if I ever see a snow flake or feel the wicked fingers of "Old Man Winter" again, but our horses are trusting us to take care of them through the cold winter months, so we must pile on the cloths and trudge through the snow and freezing cold to take care of them. Horses, as with all warm blooded animals, must maintain their body temperature from dropping. A high forage diet is a vital part in helping to maintain the body temperature. Hay has a higher fiber content than grain. So please buy a high quality of hay and make sure your horses have access to this hay through out the day. Remember horses need to maintain their water intake when temperatures drop and with the increase in feed consumption this can sometimes lead to a higher incidence of colic. So please don't forget the water! You will need to check the water buckets/ponds at least twice a day to remove any ice build up, or to break the ice so that your horses are encouraged to drink during the day. You will also want to discourage the horses from walking out on the frozen waters and falling through. The Mountain Horses are a hardy breed and are accustom to the harsh winters, but the old and infirm need a little extra aid and possibly shelter during extreme temperatures. Their long winter coats give them extra warmth that is essential in helping to keep them warm, but if your horses are being kept in a barn, they may not have grown the hair that is needed. For these instances you may want to protect your horse with a blanket. Mother nature generally knows what is needed, but then again Mother Nature would not have them in a barn. :o) Just a reminder to remember your best friends during the cold winter months.

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