Quick Tips for Sudden Spring Weather Changes

Spring storms are on their way, and sudden temperature changes can cause issues for your horse. Try these tips to be prepared.

As the seasons transition and weather patterns fluctuate, it’s crucial for horse owners to be equipped with the knowledge and strategies to ensure the well-being of their equine companions. Sudden temperature changes can pose significant challenges for your horse, impacting his comfort, hydration, and overall health. Here are some essential ways to prepare your horse for sudden temperature changes.

For many of us, we’re in that odd time of year where one day might be 60 degrees and sunny, and the next might bring snow, ice, and below freezing temps. These weather changes can be hard on your horse, so don’t fall into a false sense of security that winter is over just because of a few sunny days. Stay prepared for spring storms, and monitor your horse during sudden weather changes.

Take small, and simple precautions to be prepared for sudden temperature changes. Kinga/adobe.stock.com

Spring Storm Prep

When you experience a switch from mild weather to colder weather, you can take special precautions to prepare your horse for the change. Spring doesn’t always mean warm weather, and a spring storm can be just as cold—if not colder—than winter storms. If the weather report shows impending cold weather after a warm snap, try out these tips to keep your horse happy and healthy.

Simple Prep Tips

  1. Provide a windbreak or shelter that he can choose to use.
  2. Double check your feed reserves. Don’t get caught in the middle or a spring storm when you’re running low on hay. You’ll need to feed more during cold weather to help your horse regulate his body temperature, so ensure you have plenty of hay—and a way to move it if necessary.
  3. Blanket your horse if he requires it. This could include senior horses, hard-keepers, and horses that have already shed out their winter coat.
  4. Adjust your plan based on the type of precipitation. Spring storms often mean very wet conditions, and a horse that is soaked to the bone might struggle to stay warm, versus when the snow stacks up on his back.

Feed for Success

  1. Up his feed intake. Provide plentiful, high-quality, high-protein forage for your horse to eat when cold weather hits. This can help him regulate his body temperature to stay warm.
  2. Avoid sudden diet changes. Feeding more of the same hay can help him stay warm. But don’t suddenly switch his feed without slowly introducing new hay. You might be tempted to switch to alfalfa during cold weather, but sudden changes in feed can cause issues like colic. Feed changes should be done gradually over a period of time. And ideally not during or right before a sudden change in weather.
  3. Watch for signs of cold-induced health issues. Sudden changes in weather can disrupt eating and drinking patterns in horses that can lead to problems like colic. Monitor his feed and water intake, and encourage drinking by providing water from heated sources, or electrolytes. Your horse might drink less during cold weather, and this can lead to concerning health issues. Soaking his hay, or top dressing feed or mixing water with electrolytes can motivate him to consume more water.

[Have You Tried Extruded Feed?]

Keep Things Fairly Normal

  1. Keep an eye on his feet. Pick out ice balls from his hooves. Watch for hoof health issues that can occur during sudden weather changes such as cracking or thrush.
  2. Ensure proper ventilation. If your horse spends time in a stall or barn, make sure that there is adequate ventilation to keep his respiratory system happy. An enclosed barn might seem like a cozy and warm place, but dust, allergens, and hay can wreak havoc on your horse’s respiration. Adequate airflow even in cold weather will help keep your horse healthy and happy.
  3. Keep him moving. Allowing regular turnout and exercise even during inclement weather is beneficial for your horse. Keep him moving to keep his gut happy. Avoid making drastic changes to his turnout routine that can lead to health or behavioral issues, except in the case of severe and dangerous weather.
  4. Try and avoid any large changes to your horse’s routine during bad weather. Typically horses handle inclement weather better than we give them credit for. If he has shelter that he can opt to use, plentiful hay, water, and a human that is keeping an eye on him, chances are that he’ll be fine. But, take these few extra steps when you’re facing a sudden weather change to ensure your horse’s health and comfort.

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