Updated 02/13/2013 05:00 AM
Pet Pointers: Keeping horses warm
While horses love to be outside, there are times when they need a little extra help keeping warm. In this edition of Pet Pointers, Lisa Chelenza looks at helping your horse stay nice and cozy this winter.
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As the days become shorter and the winter cold digs in its heels, horses grow a warm woolly coat that, along with a little extra fat, keeps them warm in the barn and in the pasture. Regular grooming of their thicker winter coat will help it be more effective. In most cases, their natural coat is enough but when the weather turns inclement, more protection is needed.
In temperatures below freezing, with high winds, snow, rain and sleet, a horse blanket is a must. This is especially true for horses who prefer to be outside, who are thin, or are seniors. Even in a shelter, some horses can benefit from the extra protection a blanket provides against extreme cold.
Be sure your horse is dry and comfortable under the blanket and check for moisture. If they are sweating, remove it during the day and replace it in the evening as the sun sets. As temperatures rise in the spring and the sun starts to shine, heavy coverings are no longer necessary. Some horse keepers will still use a light covering as protection from heavy spring rain.
Providing your horse with fresh water daily is also important to keep them hydrated, happy, and healthy during the cold winter months.
Special thanks to Sunshine Horses Inc. Horse Rescue. Visit nysunshinehorses.org to learn more.