Cold Weather Horse Care

It’s been a tough month.  The hardest part is wearing all the layers of clothes and heavy boots and trying to get around in the snow and ice.  This year is better than last year.  Because of the deep snow some of the horses aren’t going very far from their watering and feeding areas.  A few horses stocked up so I make every effort to get them out and walking.  This week three of them had swollen rear ankles.  The last few days the temperatures have risen to the 30’s so the ground is thawing and freezing making for icey conditions. 
 
I buted Annie D and moved her to the big pasture and locked her off from the other horses.  I put Charity, her dam, in with her to keep her company.  This fall I separated Annie because she was running Pearl (the blind mare) through the fences and wouldn’t let the other horses eat.  Because of all the snow she didn’t have much area to move around.  Which is probably why she had swollen rear ankles.  As soon as I turned her out the swelling went down.  I have to haul their hay and water down the hill.  Sometimes the climb back up is a chore but is good for me.  I make sure the horses have access to at least 5 gallons of water per horse.  That means dumping frozen water tubs over and refilling.  Annie got her hooves trimmed on Saturday, the 16th
 
I buted Rebel.  Rebel has a history of stocking up.  He hasn’t for several years.  I feed him a long ways from his water and grain him another length away so he has to move.  I found a great blanket for him on Craig’s List from a horsewoman nearby.  Rebel never gets a heavy coat.  The vet says it’s his metabolism.  He’s very happy with his blanket.  It’s a tuff rider and it fits him like glove.
 
I’ve been trying several different feeding routines for Hazel.  She just doesn’t want to gain weight and any little stresser and she loses.  Right now I have her by herself next to Alice, Elli and Pearl.  I’m keeping hay in front of her all the time and I’m gradually increasing her grain.  I’m giving her a hay pellet with vit and minerals, calf manna, electrolytes, and more vit and min supplements (they all balance each other).  I may have to get a senior feed to give to her.  I try to find the bales that have the finest hay and save those for her.
 
I’m working on catching Elli.  We are making progress.  I catch her to give her her grain.  Then I catch her again to turn her back out.  Everytime I catch her I work on getting her to drop her head, turn her head towards me, rub her nose and face (she’s very head shy).  Then when she relaxes I remove her halter, still holding her head towards me and step away first. Elli got her hooves trimmed on Saturday, the 16th.
 
Hazel can be hard to catch sometimes.  So I use the same method with her.  My plan is now to turn her out in the afternoon then catch her again to feed her evening meal. 
 
Annie needs to start saddling this year.  She needs her ground work refined.  She’s mature enough to start riding this summer.
 
Alice needs to respect space, move off of pressure, and start longeing.  She needs to get her hooves trimmed so needs work with picking up and holding up her hooves for extended periods.
 
Rebel needs to be shod this spring.  Something needs to be done with his quarter crack.
 
Charity needs more trail riding miles.
 
I want to breed Pearl this spring.  Pearl got her front feet shod on Saturday, the 16th.
 
Rusty’s left rear ankle that he twisted last spring is sore again.  I wrapped it and gave him bute.  Today I unwrapped it and gave him more bute.  Hopefully he feels better tomorrow.  I have never used so much bute in my life.  I’m sure it’s the lack of exercise and the icey conditions in the morning.  Rusty is a good boy.  I’m going to spread some stove ash on the icey areas tomorrow.  I spent all weekend hauling feed, hauling hay, and having horses hooves trimmed and shod.  Rusty got his hooves trimmed on Saturday the 16th. 
 
 
 
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