In this Backyard Life video, fashion model and equestrian Willow Hand provides pointers on winter horse can and how you need to modify your horse care practices from summer to wintertime conditions.
Here are the practices Willow follows—and says you should, too:
During the summer months, Willow mows her Tennessee pastures once a month. Doing so, she says, helps knock the grass top down, and keep them at a good grazing height. But, she stops mowing around September to allow the grass to get nice and high, which provides forage for the horses throughout the balance of the year. She also seeds with Kentucky Bluegrass and Rye in the winter. Both of these grasses don’t grow as much as they do in the summer, thus giving her horses something nice and fresh to eat in the winter months besides standard hay.
Willow says winter time’s a good time to address any mud patches your pastures might have. They’re unpleasant for your horses to walk in, and can also lead to abscesses, she continues. Willow mitigates mud patches by putting screening down around gates, water troughs, high- traffic areas, hay feeders, front entrances, and anywhere else water’s likely to collect.
When horses don’t have unlimited pasture forage, Willow provides her horses with round hay bales housed in a feeder she’s built. The feeder’s roof keeps hay dry, while its sides keep horses from potentially damaging the feeder.
Even though you’ll be providing your horses with forage throughout the winter, Willow says you’ll also need to monitor dietary needs. This is because they’ll need more caloric intake to get them through the colder months.
One big difference in keeping “performance horses” up in the summer versus the winter is their coats. As soon as they start to grow a woolly, fuzzy coat, Willow says you’ll need to break out the clippers and give them a trim so they’re able to perform without sweating constantly.
Once your horses have been clipped, Willow says you’ll then want to ensure they’re fully blanketed once they are clipped. Clipping and blanketing go hand in hand, she continues.