Winter Season & Your Horse

Horse Eating Hay

Our 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.

More Information

The UF Large Animal Hospital veterinarians treat equine and large animal patients from the Gainesville, Ocala and Jacksonville areas, including Alachua and Marion Counties in Florida, and our clients come from all over the United States. Contact us to make an appointment.

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As part of both the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and UF Health, Veterinary Medicine is dedicated to advancing animal, human and environmental health through teaching, research, extension and patient care.

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Need animal care? Visit the UF Small Animal and Large Animal Hospitals. From dogs, cats, birds and exotics to horses, cattle, llamas, pigs and many other large farm or food animals, our experienced veterinary staff is ready to assist.


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