The snow has arrived, and although it is picturesque, it can be a nightmare for the animal lovers of the world. With temperatures plummeting well below freezing, it is essential you take into consideration your animal’s health and well-being - as well as your own! Here at R&R we have compiled a care guide to help your furry friends stay well in these snowy conditions!
Knowing whether your horse needs a rug, and if so what weight, can be confusing at the best of times. It is important to take into consideration that horses are wild animals and their survival instincts will kick in when needed. If your horse is wearing a rug this time of year, keep a spare one to hand as the snow will make your horse soggy no matter how long they are outside. It is also a good idea to take your horse’s rug off regularly to check them over and monitor their general health – a big heavy rug can often hide a multitude of issues including weight loss and injuries!
By putting a liner in your rug you can easily boost the warmth without having to purchase a whole new rug. We have plenty of choice, take a look here…
Horses are wild animals and most breeds would be happy outside no matter what the weather throws at them. The only thing you may need to consider is shelter. This does not necessarily mean a man-made shelter: horses will often seek shelter amongst bushes and trees, so there is no need to provide a building for them to shelter. As long as your horse has some natural elements to shelter beneath, they should be content in their field – after all, who doesn’t love playing in the snow!
With your horse's grazing limited, weight loss can be a worry. To avoid potential weight loss, you can boost their meal intake on snowy days, ensuring they get all their essential nutrients. However, if your horse is prone to putting weight on the extra time in the stable on these cold days may cause weight gain! Each horse is different, and therefore it is important to monitor your horse’s individual needs and adapt where necessary!
Weight Gain - Shop the Shires 1037 Greedy Feeder Net
With snowfall the ground will become covered, which may cause issues with your grazing. As horses graze/forage on grass throughout the day it may be a good idea to put some additional feed out for them – perhaps some hay or haylage to keep them full and happy.
It is not just the grass availability we need to worry about in these wintery conditions: if your fencing is covered with snow, or your electric fence is white, your horse may not be able to see the perimeter of its field. To avoid any potential injuries we suggest brushing the snow off your fencing if possible.
A top tip for fields built with electric fencing is the use of brightly coloured tape. These can often be purchased from hardware stores, and will make your fencing visible once again.
Break the ice...
Always check your horse’s water supply. The water buckets may be frozen in wintry conditions. Ensure your horse always has access to fresh water, even if they are not drinking as much at this time of year.
When it melts away…
Although snow is nice while it lasts, the inevitable slushy mess is around the corner as it melts away. We must be wary of any slippery patches on the yard. Avoid a potential fall by adding grit to the high traffic areas, and tread carefully! Sensible footwear is always important in these conditions – good grip and a supportive ankle will make yard duties less risky!
Here are a few of our favourite boots, perfect for the conditions:
We hope you enjoyed the winter care guide! Take care and enjoy the snow.