author: Marta Woźniczka
Free access to the paddock and herd contacts are, next to food and water, one of the key needs of horses. These animals should be provided with a daily dose of exercise, which is necessary for the proper functioning of their bodies. But when winter arrives and the temperature drops below freezing and snow covers the pastures, many horse owners wonder if these conditions are right for their animals. Free movement outside is recommended regardless of weather conditions, but when letting the horse out onto the paddock, remember to do it wisely and responsibly.
Horses are animals adapted to an active lifestyle. Leaving them for days in the stable has a negative effect on the condition of their limbs, as well as on the work of the respiratory, digestive and blood systems. Just as important as the physical health of horses is their mental health. Staying in the stable all the time has a negative effect on the well-being of these animals. It is primarily depriving them of the ability to exhibit natural behavior. Choosing the right place where the horse will be able to spend time is extremely important, because a poorly prepared paddock can turn out to be dangerous.
The most important thing is to start adapting it in fall, before winter comes and the snow covers everything around. It is worth a little effort and remove all “mechanical traps” from it, which – invisible under the layer of snow – can cause strains, sprains and even fractures.
Poor conditions in the paddocks make the horses feel unsafe. It is extremely irresponsible to leave the ice and clumps of snow behind when releasing the horses to the paddock. It is therefore necessary to control the condition of the paddock and remove all dangers.
It is also important to pay attention to the quality of all paths that the horses will travel on. After all, it is not only the paddock itself, but also the roads leading to it. And there it is not difficult to get hurt. Even after leaving the stable, the horse may be in danger due to improperly prepared and icy surface. All lumps, permafrost, hard lumps are traps for what the horse has the most valuable – legs.
When the winter months roll in, it’s important to remember to provide your horse in the paddock with adequate amounts of food, which he will convert into the energy he needs to keep his body warm. A hay bale is the perfect way to keep your horse from searching for food from the ground.
How do you know if your horse is freezing and paddling is no longer a good idea? You will notice it immediately. The horse will be huddled, muscles tense, ears pressed to his head, and tail tucked between his legs. If you notice that he is also shivering, then know that he feels really bad in the cold. Cover your horse with a warm blanket, place in a cozy box away from low temperatures, wind and snow. Control his behavior and body, they will tell you everything.
Winter for horse owners does not have to be associated only with unfavorable weather conditions. And although this is a time that presents you with many challenges, it can also turn out to be a time of extraordinary experiences and wonderful memories for both you and your horse. Remember: when you put a little effort into preparing your pet for winter, you will manage to avoid many problems. A healthy, well-fed horse will really do well!