Winter Tips On The Farm

Baby it's cold outside! And regardless of where you are in the world the temperature and weather changes make for adjusting farm and riding routines. These new routines can include anything from ice prevention and proper warm up techniques before a ride to blanketing and hoof care. 


Ice Prevention


For those in the south this may look like leaving faucets and spigot to drip during a night when they could maybe hit freezing temperatures. As we creep more north however you find that laying salt for walkways to prevent slipping and keeping water buckets from freezing over could look like the norm. Colic tends to rear its ugly head during this season because of inadequate water intake. 


Winter Blanketing


To clip or not to clip, that is the question. Or is the real question: To blanket or not to blanket? I will be the first to say I often worry my horse is cold simply because I am cold. That as we all know is not how it goes though. For an idea of when to pull your blankets out...


Body Clipped Horses: Start blanketing when the temperature gets below 60F. or any time it is rainy or windy. 
Moderate Hair Coat Horses: start blanketing when the temperature goes below 40F. 
Heavy Hair Coat Horses: Start blanketing horse below 3-F







Chart from Schneiders Saddlery


Winter Hoof Care


In colder areas it is suggested to pull horses shoes in the winter. This allows for them to expand and increase circulation and improve the over all health of your horses foot. Additionally you run into the issue in more snowy areas of your horses hoof snowballing on in the sole. This can cause bruising, abscesses and possible slipping. Removal of your horses shoes allows for their natural hoofs flexibility to not hold onto the snow and ice. Additionally due to the fact that the metal from the shoe causes additional freezing. 


Winter Feeding


Hay is the word! Properly cured hay stores well in terms of the major calorie sources but it does suffer some important nutrient losses. The longer hay sits around, the greater the loss of some vitamins and minerals.  By understanding the deficiencies in older hay you can maintain optimal nutrition for your horse even during the winter months. 



Learn More About Winter Feeding Here

Warming Up


Regardless of if you live in the sunny south you still have your own form of winter which often includes a shift in temperature. While compared to a northerners winter this could seem less drastic and in need of attention, your horse still feels the change. Taking more time to properly warm up your horse in and/or out of the saddle could make all the difference in your ride. Talking to your vet about stretches to promote efficiency in your horses movement and muscle development is a great way to go about this. Head over to our TikTok to see content on stretching your horse.



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References:

  • AAEP
  • Schneiders Saddlery
  • Horse Canada
  • Total Equine Veterinary Associates
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