Winter Season & Your Horse

Horse Eating HayOur veterinary specialists are dedicated to advancing the field of large animal veterinary medicine. Diagnostic and treatment services are available to improve our patients’ health and quality of life, while enriching the human-animal bond. Here are some tips for winter from the veterinarians of the UF Large Animal Hospital.

  • Grass in the cool, fall mornings (especially after a frost) is high in water-soluble sugars and can put some horses at risk for founder.
  • Gradually increase forage as grazing becomes less available. Forage in the form of good-quality hay will also provide additional warmth as it is digested.
  • Horses should drink 6-10 gallons of water per day, and the more hay they eat, the more water they need to drink. Most horses prefer water temperatures between 45-65°F.
  • If your horse’s water intake decreases, adding 1-2 tablespoons to your horse’s grain may encourage water consumption.
  • If you plan to ride your horse, double your warm-up time to avoid injuries to tendons and muscles. It is also important to cool down your horse properly after riding.
  • Don’t forget that some medications, shampoos, and ointments may freeze if left in an uninsulated tack room or trailer.