Here’s some tasks you can complete around your place when the weather keeps you out of the saddle, and some feeding advice to be mindful of as the weather fluctuates.
Feed hay based on temps: Roughage in the diet (which causes heat-producing bacterial fermentation in the large intestine) is the primary way nature keeps your horse warm. So for every 10-degree temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, add about two additional pounds of hay to his ration.
Keep an eye on oldsters: Carefully monitor your elderly horse for weight loss over the winter. If dental problems keep him from chewing enough hay, he may begin to drop pounds—especially when it’s frigid out (see above). Consider a specially formulated senior feed to supplement his hay ration. (For more on caring for your aging equine, review “Senior Horse-Care Checklist” at HorseandRider.com this month.)
‘Use’ stormy days: When weather keeps everyone indoors, experiment with acupressure and massage techniques on your stalled horses. (Find the DVD Beyond Horse Massage at HorseBooksEtc.com.)