Horses are notoriously sturdy creatures who can withstand all types of weather conditions. They work hard for us and provide us with hours of riding pleasure without so much as a whimper. Nevertheless, it’s important for you as a horse owner to recognize that the fall season brings certain health and safety challenges for horses. By knowing what to expect now when the chill in the air has only just begun, you will be fully prepared to care for your horse during the even colder months of winter.
Keep an Eye on Your Horse’s Hydration
The colder air temperatures of early fall make your horse’s drinking water colder as well. This may cause him to refuse it altogether or limit his normal water intake, both of which increase the risk for dehydration. To avoid this, consider heating the water before bringing it to your horse. Commercial heating devices are available for this purpose. If that’s not practical, add some electrolyte powder to your horse’s daily grain intake.
Most Horses Don’t Need to Wear a Blanket
Even though it’s only early fall, you may be thinking ahead about how to keep your horse warm this winter. Healthy adult horses are accustomed to surviving the worst that a Minnesota or Wisconsin winter has to offer and probably don’t need to wear the equivalent of a horse jacket. When the sun does peak during the day, the blanket may cause the horsse to sweat and overheat. However, exceptions do exist. As soon as the weather is consistently cool, you may want to consider a blanket for a horse that is ill, naturally thin, disabled, or who normally has a thin coat of fur.
How Are Your Horse’s Teeth?
The wind chill, snow, ice, and freezing temperatures all place a strain on your horse’s body. That is why she needs extra fiber in her diet to provide the energy she needs to withstand the demands of the season. Before the truly cold days hit Grantsburg and the surrounding communities, make a point to have your horse’s teeth checked. Ensuring that her teeth are strong and disease-free means she will have no problems getting the nutrition she needs.
The Importance of Vaccines and Deworming
As part of our equine protocol at Grantsburg Animal Hospital, we recommend deworming adult horses every two months all year long. Deworming in December is especially important since it gets rid of bots. Most vaccinations should occur in the spring, but there are some exceptions. We encourage you to review ourVaccination and Deworming Schedule for Horses 2015 to make sure that your horse has all of his vaccines and is following a proper deworming schedule.