Bad weather is certainly a nightmare when you are a horse owner! Waterlogged fields, swamped arenas and frozen surfaces - sound familiar? There are many reasons why you may be forced to keep your horse stabled for longer periods of time over the winter, but this doesn't mean they should suffer.
What Are The Causes Of Respiratory Issues?
If you have a horse stabled for long periods of time, you may have encountered respiratory issues... It is often the fact they have less fresh air and generally have a greater exposure to dust from their bedding and hay. Another reason why your horse may be showing signs of respiratory problems could be due to their exercise and fitness regime. Generally speaking, horses are exercised less over the winter period due to bad weather and dark nights... Exercising your horses opens up their airways and allows them to clear. Consequently if they are not being exercised as much they will not have the opportunity to open them up as regularly.
How Can I Manage Respiratory Issues?
We have complied 7 useful tips and tricks to help you manage your horse's respiratory issues this winter. Read on to discover more:
Soak It Up!
Soaking or steaming your hay is an excellent way of reducing the amount of dust present. If you do not have the facilities to do this, you can try switching to haylage. Haylage naturally maintains its moisture, more so than hay as it is wrapped in polythene after being cut.
No Dust Here!
Swap your bedding to a dust extracted alternative. By swapping your bedding you can reduce the amount of dust present in the stable by a great deal. Why not take a look at our dust extracted bedding options here.
Avoid mucking out with your horse present in the stable. If you need to muck out with your horse in, try not to sweep up or throw shavings around - this will just add more dust to the air that they are breathing.
Feed you horse from the ground. Studies have shown that feeding your hay from the ground can reduce respiratory issues!
Keep it clean! Although deep littering is a great way of maintaining an economical bed, it can also cause respiratory issues if the ammonia is left too long. Make sure you take out the wet on a regular basis to avoid a build up of ammonia in the bedding or under rubber matting.
Open Those Windows
Open the windows wide... If your stable has a window, try opening it for extra ventilation. If you are stabled in a barn, try and locate your horse near a door for extra ventilation in their stable. Remember to rug your horse accordingly if you are creating a chilly draught.
Add A Supplement...
Supplements can provide a lifeline for horses that suffer with respiratory issues. As noted by top equestrian brand, NAF:
"Respiratory stress is a common fact of life for the modern horse. Stabling, forage and indoor schools can all harbour dust and fungal spores which accumulate in and irritate the sensitive lining of the lungs and respiratory tract. In the wild, horses had free access to a wide range of herbs, shrubs and trees that they could self select to meet their requirements. With the limited species variation in modern pasture, this is no longer possible."
Many top brands have introduced supplements that can aid us in introducing the natural herbal variation that helps to support lung health. Why not take a look at our respiratory supplements here.
We hope you have found our blog useful in managing any respiratory issues that may arise this winter. Follow all of our tips and your horse is sure to be breathing easy this season...