During the winter time, when it is cold outside, you may not want to spend as much time working out with your horse as you do during the winter months. However, your horse needs just as much care and attention during the winter as it does during any other time of the year.
Exercise Your Horse
Your horse needs to move and exercise during the winter. It is not healthy, physically or mentally, for your horse to be cooped up in a barn all winter long. Let your horse out in their pasture or paddock at least once a day. Vary the length of time you let your horse out in the pasture or paddock for exercise based on the temperatures outside.
If possible, keep getting on your horse during the wintertime. As long as the temperatures are not sub-zero, saddle up your horse and take them for a short ride. Even a daily ten or fifteen-minute ride is better than no exercise at all.
Exercise is important for your horse's physical and mental health. Additionally, if you don't exercise your horse all winter, they are going to be out of shape when next spring runs around, and at greater risk of injury.
Keep Your Horse Outside
Your horse doesn't need to be inside all day like you do. Make sure that you provide your horse with a three sided shelter where they can go to get out of the elements, but allow your horse to spend their day outside. Your horse will enjoy the airflow and the exercise. Only bring your horse in at nighttime or if a big storm is approaching.
Be Careful With The Blankets
If your horse has a full winter coat, they are not going to need to be covered up with blankets. If your horse has a clipped coat, then they are going to need a blanket. Just don't overdo the blankets. Putting too many blankets on your coat can also cause your horse to overheat.
Watch Their Hoofs
Make sure that you pay attention to your horse's hoofs. They need to be cared for during the winter as well, even if you are not riding them. Be sure that you farrier your horses hoof's every few weeks throughout the winter time. Don't overlook your pet's hoof care just because its cold outside.
Change Up Their Food
Your horse needs to eat more food during the winter. During the winter, your horse is going to burn more calories in order to stay warm. As it gets colder outside, you should feed your horse more hay. This will give your horse the calories they need to stay warm. If you don't feed your horse enough, you will notice your horse dropping a lot of weight over the winter months.
To learn more about caring for your horse during cold weather, contact a veterinarian at a local large animal hospital.