Healthy horse in cold with optimal nutrition

Staying warm in the cold with your horse

Winter weather is here!

When it comes to the health of our equine partners, winter can be challenging. As we enter the second week of the new year, it's important to remember that cold weather will be sticking around for a while.  However, with a few simple tips, you can help keep your horse healthy and happy throughout the season. 

Don't let the cold weather get in the way of enjoying time with your horse. Take steps now to ensure their well-being, and you'll both be able to make the most of the winter months ahead.

Access to water

Ensure your water heaters are working correctly and do not have any shorts, as they could zap the horse and make them less likely to drink! Offering flavored water or electrolytes mixed into water in addition to their regular supply could help, too.

Maintaining weight

Horses may need extra calories to maintain their weight and keep up with the demands on their body heat. So, providing extra calories is recommended for those horses who need it.

When traveling

When you bring a new horse home, whether for yourself or a client, they may need extra support adjusting to these new surroundings. Monitor their water intake, weight, and natural body heat under a blanket, and adapt accordingly.

Horses with sensitive feet or hoof issues

If your horse has foot issues, like laminitis, or is arthritic, the frozen hard ground could exacerbate the soreness. Make sure to monitor and put them on a soft surface if necessary.

Broodmares that are due

Do not trust the weather! If foals get damp and the wind picks up, they get cold quickly, and the problems begin. 

Training in the cold

In cold temperatures, train appropriately. It could be valid if your horse is having a more challenging time in the cold weather. Do a lighter workout to avoid injuries or illness.  

  • Make sure you have longer warm-ups and cool-downs.
  • Be aware that cold weather can harm muscles and the respiratory system.
  • If your horse begins coughing or develops a slight nasal discharge, this could be an infection starting. In these cases, horses should be protected from the weather even more.


Monitoring your horse's health is vital during the cold, but horses can also have difficulty adjusting as the temperature rises from very cold to balmy. Monitor for abnormal behavior or signs of colic during these times. 

Blanketing your horse

Many horses do well without blankets when it is dry and cold; however, their temperature could be affected when it rains and the winds pick up. Always check under the blanket when horses are blanketed. They could be surprisingly warm or cool, so adjust the weight as necessary.

Shoeing in the cold

When temperatures drop into the 20s, horses may be sensitive to being shod. Cold temperatures make the hoof sensitive, so consider this when your appointments fall into a cold spell.

Remember, your horse depends on you to be their voice;
always consult your local veterinarian if needed.

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