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Fall/Winter Considerations to Keep Your Horse Healthy
While you create your natural environment, there are seasonal considerations to keep in mind. Your geographical region will dictate specific challenges, but for most the basics are the same.
Just as the high heat and humidity of summer present challenges, winter also requires some strategic thinking and planning. By keeping these seven basic tips in mind, winter can be a wonderland rather than worrisome.
Hint: A few extra pounds going into winter is beneficial, especially for senior horses.
Hint: Heated tubs and buckets and bucket or tank heaters are affordable and available at most feed stores.
5. Allow free-choice movement which generates body heat and keeps muscles loose and warm.
6. Proper hoof care is still a necessity. Even though hoof growth does slow slightly in cold weather, trimming on an appropriate schedule is still important. Often horses are not moving as much so natural wear may be decreased. Pick hooves out and examine the hoof as frequently as you do in the summer.
Hint: A light coat of vegetable or olive oil on the soles can help decrease excessive snow or ice packing which most often happens in shod or long-walled hooves.
7. Provide shelter from the cold wind and snow. A barn with free access or run-in shed allows your horse to escape the cold, snow or freezing rain if he chooses.
Summary for Fall/Winter Considerations
* Allow a natural hair coat
* Provide free-choice shelter from the cold, snow and freezing rain
* Ensure proper salt and water intake
* Give free-choice access to grass hay and add extra fat sources to the diet
* Schedule in normal hoof trimming
About the author:
Lisa Ross-Williams is a natural horse care consultant and host of the If Your Horse Could Talk webcast available at www.naturalhorsetalk.com. She has completed the Basic Veterinary Homeopathy course through the British Institute of Homeopathy, holds a degree in Environmental Plant Science, and is an Equine Iridology Technician. Lisa is the Publisher/Editor-In-Chief of Natural Horse Magazine and the author of the award winning book, Down-To-Earth Natural Horse Care available at www.down-to-earthnhc.com.
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