Seasons are moving, but autumn is here to stay—for now. Now that fall is upon us, it’s not just us who need to adapt to changes. Our horses require a proper seasonal adjustment as well, and preparing your horse for this season is mandatory in keeping them cozy, healthy, and polo-ready.
The breeze blows colder winds and trees start to lose their leaves. The stables and your horses should be weather-proof, or at least well-maintained to get through fall and have a seamless transition come winter. Let this guide run you through the steps in helping your beautiful four-legged partner shift through autumn without problems.
Build protection for your horses. A shed with an open side opposite the direction of wind flow will shield the animal from the wind, keeping them warm while still providing excellent ventilation for fresh air to come in. Also, look out for drafts and cover holes immediately to avoid cold air from sneaking in the shelter.
Maintain your forage bounty by stocking up on hay to supply your horse with its daily nutritional requirement. If hay is in limited supply, add alternative forage sources into their feed to stretch your stock, such as hay cubes, beet pulp, and complete feeds.
When the colder months arrive, horses tend to decrease their water intake—and we don’t want that! Horses need to drink eight to 12 gallons of water per day, so ensure access to fresh water at his shelter. Another trick to encourage drinking is to provide warmer water or adding electrolytes in his fill.
The cold weather hinders us from going out, resulting in less activity for your horse, too. But maintaining its fitness is essential! Squeeze in at least 30 minutes each day for physical activity—let it walk or trot, do warm-ups through longeing, and don’t forget the cooldown.
Proper care for down there—and we mean your horse’s hooves—shouldn’t be overlooked. Create a puddle to help keep their hooves moist. Do this by letting the water trough spill over to create a puddle where they can dip their toes. Intake of feed supplements containing biotin, amino acids, and other healthy ingredients is also a big help.
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.