The weather is getting colder and this means its time to develop a plan to keep your horses comfortable as the cool weather arrives. The main things to think about are warmth, hydration and feed.
Depending on your horse’s hair coat and body condition, you may need to blanket your horse to keep them warm. Horses that have been body clipped at all during the fall should have a blanket available if the temperature is below 50 degrees. Horses that have a low body condition, such as older horses or horses that can have their ribs felt should also have a blanket available. Horses with a full hair coat should be comfortable with any normal Florida winter weather. Shelter should always be available to protect from the wind and rain.
When the temperature drops horses tend to drink less and a string of cold days can lead to dehydration. A dehydrated horse is much more likely to colic so it is important to prevent it. Offering Gatorade water, regular warm water, molasses water or other flavored water can be an enticing treat that will encourage your horse to drink. Make sure to always offer regular water just in case your horse does not like the variety.
During the winter months quality pasture grass is sparse and not quite as tasty. Offering a daily supply of hay will allow your horse to maintain their body weight and it helps your horse create body heat that will keep them warm.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding care or management, contact your veterinarian.