Hello all! This morning we woke up to a heavy frost on the ground and although there wasn't much of a breeze, it was sure cold! As we head into winter here in Eastern Washington, we pray it isn't nearly as bad as last year. That was a rough one! We recently had our stash of winter blankets washed and re-waterproofed, we have shelter up for fosters Goose and CeeCee, hay stacked, and trough heaters in. How are things in YOUR neighborhood? How is your hay supply? Do you have a snuggly blanket for the cold wintery days and nights headed our way? How is your old horse looking heading into winter, do you feel their teeth need checked, is it time to think about the last act of kindness so they don't suffer through a difficult winter? Whatever your situation, if you need help please reach out! Check with your neighbors, do they need some help? Let us know!
Just a few things to think about...
Colic is a very real risk at any time, but especially during the winter when water is cold and horses aren't inclined to drink as much as they need to stay fully hydrated. You know what they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Check your trough heaters to make certain they are in excellent condition before using. If a horse can feel the slightest tickle of a fly landing on them, can you imagine how a current of electricity in water feels? YIKES! Also make certain you have a source of salt available. I personally like feeding loose salt so I can keep a better eye on their intake, but if a salt block works for you...it works for you.
Weather. If you have some sort of windbreak for your horses they will certainly appreciate it especially when the wind starts to whipping as it does in our area. Wind, whaaat? Horses, most of them, are resilient in weather but when it is cold, windy, and especially when it is wet...they do need some extra considerations. Horses create warmth by eating (it's like magic). FEED FEED FEED as much roughage as possible in harsh conditions. By roughage we mean hay. And whatever form that comes in for you, feed it. Make sure it isn't moldy!
To blanket or not to blanket...that is the question. Listen, the idea of blanketing a horse can create controversy amongst us horse lovers but if it works for you or doesn't is as vast of a range as the colors of the rainbow, we are all a wide array of experiences. Just remember that if you do blanket make sure they are waterproof, that they are well fitted, and take them off when it warms up and at least weekly so you don't grow fungus among us on your beasties. If you don't blanket then consider some type of shelter from the wind at the very least. Many horses won't go into a barn to save their lives, but many horses love their cozy stalls. Again if it works for you, it works. The most important thing to consider is the well being of your beloved equine.
We are not veterinarians, we don't hold any degrees in equine management, all of our suggestions we throw out here are based solely on our own personal experiences, and we are happy to share whatever knowledge we have for you to weed through as you see fit. Again let me say, if you need help REACH OUT. Our phone number is 509-222-8994 and we are local to the Pasco, Kennewick, Richland community but have lots of folks around that we network with so keep us in mind. We want to help people make good decisions for their horses, and that starts with education and an occasional helping hand.