Horse owners, tune in! In Part One of our Handy Autumn Checklist series, the Springtime team provided a slew of helpful tips for taking care of your dog’s health as the season changes. Now, it’s time to discuss how to keep your horse’s health in tip-top shape this fall. As many of us know, humans and their canine companions are not the only ones susceptible to seasonal allergies, illnesses and other health conditions as temperatures drop. We must also be extra charitable to our noble steeds who may be put at risk if their nutritional and physical needs are not met. Below are a handful of tips for keeping your horse healthy as we wrap up 2020!
Fight Off Parasites: Deworm!
As temperatures decrease, parasite activity can increase. You want to do a thorough fecal egg count to determine if your horse needs to be dewormed. Parasite activity can vary depending on where you live in the country and the type of climate you experience. Common parasites found in the gastrointestinal tract of horses and other grazing animals are strongyles. Many horses become affected by strongyles from grazing and consuming contaminated grass, which is why many choose to deworm their horses in late summer and fall. Stabling during the cold months is one of the best ways to prevent strongyle infections and inhibit larval buildup, especially as parasite activity can act up in the fall.
Secure the Barns or Stables: Check for Drafts!
Horses are resilient creatures and can withstand chilly temperatures, often without requiring thick winter coats to keep warm throughout late fall and winter. However, when was the last time you took inventory of your horse’s shelter area to check for imperfections? While horses can fare well in colder climates, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick evaluation of your horse’s stable. Check for drafty areas in your barn, such as cracks or holes near doors and windows, that can let the outside in. You don’t want to completely eliminate any means for airflow, but try to make some necessary upgrades to your horse’s area for shelter to ensure they’re as comfortable and warm as possible during the colder months!
Focus on Equine Self Care: Check Hooves, Hydration and Exercise Levels!
The fall may be the perfect time for you to focus on giving your horse the checkup they need nutritionally and physically. For instance, your horse’s hooves should be tended to in the fall and throughout the winter. While most people who don’t show in the winter actually pull shoes, which allows the hoof to grow more naturally, those who do keep shoes may add snow pads. They made also use something that adds traction, such as borium. As horses are not eating grass during the winter, their hooves tend to grow slower as well, which means you may be able to extend check-ups to every 6-8 weeks rather than every 5 weeks. Hoof and Coat Formula for Horses contains naturally-occurring electrolytes, trace minerals, B vitamins and biotin for optimal mineral replenishment and sound hooves. Shop Hoof & Coat Formula here!
Nutritionally, a horse’s needs may adapt or change just as a human’s would! For one, your horse may begin to drink less water in the colder months, which is why you should focus on the importance of electrolytes. Drinking less in the winter is typically normal behavior for horses (many humans drink less water during cold months, too!), however, you should still try monitoring your horse’s water intake to ensure proper hydration. You can check their gums, which should feel slippery or slimy if they are properly hydrated. You can also check to see if their eyes are more dimmed or dull than they typically are, or if they are acting more lethargic than usual. If your horse is showing signs of dehydration this fall or winter, implement a hydration strategy that is measurable or even speak to your vet if the problem continues.
There is also no reason to decrease physical activity just because the temperatures are shifting! If your horse suffers from joint discomfort that gets exacerbated with cool temperatures, that means you should actually continue with light exercise to keep them fit and agile. It may also relieve stiffness and tension. If you’re looking for a high-quality supplement to support your horse’s stiff joints as the cold weather comes, our Joint Health Formula for Horses lubricates joints and helps maintain healthy cartilage and ligaments. Shop Joint Health Formula for Horses here!
Speak to a Team Member at Springtime Supplements to Learn More!
This list of tips could go on and on, but these are three essential tasks that we believe are imperative for monitoring your horse’s health during the fall. As the seasons change, make sure your horse’s health is in tip top shape by monitoring hydration and nutrition, ensuring they have a warm place to seek out shelter and preventing internal parasites. Contact our customer service experts at Springtime Supplements today to learn more about horse care.