Winter Horse Care

Courtesy of America’s Horse Daily

With the right horse-health care, horses are built to weather winter.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Winter weather can be fickle and harsh in southwestern South Dakota. From Rapid City near the Black Hills to Interior near the Badlands, the average high hovers around 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the low around 10. But record highs are in the 60s and lows in the minus 20s. It can be tough on horses, whether they are in a barn or on the range.

“The up and down, freeze and warm, freeze and warm – it works their system pretty hard,” says Neal Livermont of Livermont Quarter Horses near Interior.

“You wake up in the morning and ask, ‘Is the wind blowing?’ ” says Patty Brunner of Brunner Quarter Horses in Rapid City. “It can be 4 degrees, but if there’s no wind, it’s almost a pleasure!”

If you’re wondering how to care for horses during the coldest time of the year, you’ll want to download this FREE e-book, Caring for Horses in Winter.
Feed – A day at Brunner Quarter Horses begins well before dawn with the morning feeding. The show horses and youngsters in the barns get different grain and hay rations – mostly grass and some alfalfa – depending on the individual.

They are fed four times during the course of the day, the last around 9:30 p.m.

“I’m not a big grain feeder,” Patty says. “A horse is a forager. If you can keep their intestines and stomach full, you decrease your incidence of colic, and they use their feed better.

“A horse’s heat really comes from the digestion of roughage, your hay. In colder weather, we up the quantity of hay they get, especially those outside.”

From blanketing to feeding, hoof care to shelters, the FREE Caring for Horses in Winter e-book is a must-read for all horse owners.
Shelter – The Livermont Quarter Horses roam “the draws,” the open range and cedar draw badlands south of the White River. To the north, across the river, lies Badlands National Park, known as the “bald badlands” because of the lack of cedars in them. The country is rough, and horses are a necessity for working cattle in it.

“The badlands will build some character,” Neal says with a smile, and he means in horses as well as people. He has broken his pelvis taking a tumble off a young horse down a cedar draw.

But the shelter of the cedars and badlands is a blessing in the winter wind.

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