Is your horse drinking enough water?
Often when it’s cold, horses decrease their water intake even if the water is not frozen. This can lead to impaction colic. Feeding coarse hay can make your horse further prone to impaction.
To get your horse to drink more water, put loose salt in its feed. An ounce of loose salt in a mash is fine. Feeding a mash or beet pulp adds moisture and assists your horse move bulk into the intestinal content.
Hoof care in snow conditions.
Watch for snow balling up in your horse’s feet. The hooves can melt the snow which then refreezes and can form sizeable lumps of ice under the foot. This makes it difficult, or even dangerous, for your horse to walk, let alone run.
Picking the feet and applying an oil-based product like petroleum jelly to the dry foot can help.
If your horse is shod in winter months, this can worsen the situation during snow.
Consider having your farrier put snow pads on your horse’s feet. This is a pad that prevents the snow from accumulating, but the pad is not slippery like a regular flat pad.
Equine care in wet, damp conditions.
If you live in the Fraser Valley, you may have more rain and mud to contend with than snow. This can cause even more problems, particularly skin diseases like rain scald, mud fever, cracked heels, and thrush.
Anything you can do to reduce your horse’s exposure to water is beneficial for your horse’s health and preventing skin diseases. Gravel and new hog fuel are good for the short-term, but proper drainage is key and cost-effective in the long-term.
Drainage in fields and paddocks is important. A roof overhead, with dry footing underneath, is very important to allow your horse to dry out. It’s better to spend money on a good environment, making your horse healthier.