Get the Right Winter Supplies for Your Horse
Preparing for winter can be tough! We don’t always get excited about cold days, shoveling snow, salting paths, and the resulting mud that covers you and your horse. And, while it can be tough to get yourself ready for winter, it can be even harder to get your horse ready. We’ve found preparing ahead of time with the right equipment makes a world of difference and turns the cold days into a winter wonderland!
Turnout Blanket - finding the right turnout blanket depends a lot on your horse and their living situation. However, a good quality, breathable, waterproof turnout blanket is a good idea for many horses when they are outside. Make sure to double check the fit of the blanket and check daily for rubbing.
- Bucket Heater or Bucket Wrap - frozen water buckets can be hard to clean out and often discourage horses from drinking, resulting in higher risk of colic. Investing in either a bucket heater or an insulated water bucket wrap will save you time in the barn. Bucket heaters come in sizes from 5 gallon buckets to larger water tubs for watering multiple horses. The bucket wrap is a perfect alternative if you do not have easy access to electricity in your barn.
- Waterless Shampoo - this is a lifesaver during the winter when a bath is just not an option due to the cold temperatures. Somehow our horses will find the one mud puddle in the paddock and roll in it or lay in the one pile of manure in the stall. Waterless shampoo can be sprayed directly onto the spot and easily removed without using any water.
- Cooler - if you ride your horse in the winter months, a cooler is a necessity. Make sure to select a cooler made with quick dry material to help wick the moisture away after a workout.
- Quarter Sheet - also a necessity if you ride during the winter. These are generally used for horses that have been fully or partially clipped as they keep your horse comfortable during the warm up and cool down periods of your ride. While some riders do use coolers for this, we prefer the quarter sheet because of the front closure which allows for easy removal right from the saddle.
- Blanket Bar - keep your blankets organized and on-hand rather than in a pile in the barn aisleway. You can either install a permanent blanket bar on the front of your stall door or purchase an adjustable, portable blanket bar to keep your blanket exactly where you need it at all times. The portable option is also convenient for trailering and horse shows.
- Supplements - if you have a senior horse, you might consider adding a joint supplement to their diet during the colder month. Hylaronic acid is a good natural equine joint lubricant that will give your horse a little extra comfort. You should also evaluate your hay and grain to make sure the nutrient levels are sufficient during harsher temperatures. Horses burn calories to stay warm in the winter, which can sometimes lead to weight loss. Adding additional calories to their diet can help if they do experience weight loss.