Horses are used to dealing with changes during the colder winter months. But in some cases is your horse more susceptible to typical ‘winter ailments’. Think about stiff muscles and lower resistance. We have listed the five most common winter ailments for you. We also listed what to look out for and how you can support your horse. Read further for a fit horse during autumn and winter.
During the colder months get most horses to have less movement. Grazing is very limited and most horses don’t get much training as it gets colder outside. This means that the blood circulation in the muscles is less good and causes stiff muscles. It is therefore very important to give more attention to the warming-up and cooling down of the muscles. So step down a bit earlier when you are going to ride and use an exercise sheet when your horse is shaven. You can also support the muscles a bit extra with natural Vitamin E, Magnesium, or Amino acids such as Lysine, Methionine, or Threonine.
Lower temperatures and standing for longer periods of time in wed and muddy meadows can make the hooves of your horse more sensitive. When the hooves are wet for too long it makes the hooves soft. When it is soft it is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This is why it is very important to keep the hooves clean and dry. Colder temperatures cause also other problems. When the ground starts to freeze it can also dry out the hooves and make them more vulnerable. In this case, the hooves also need some extra attention. Daily care of the hooves and good hygiene, isn’t the only way to improve the hooves. You can also support the hooves from within with biotin, sulfur, vitamins B, and C, Selenium, and zinc. Read more about hoove problems in this blog!
In autumn and winter are horses more susceptible to airway problems. Airway problems are caused by prolonged exposure to irritating substances in the air like dust, fungi and ammonia. In summer most horses eat more fresh grass as roughage but in autumn most horses eat dry roughage such as hay or silage. This has naturally more dust in it. During colder temperatures most horses stay more in the stables and are more exposed to these substances. A lower resistance can also make your horse susceptible to an infection. With herbs such as fenugreek, lungwort, mullein, and black cumin, the airways can be supported from the inside.
A fit and healthy horse starts with a strong resistance. Just like humans, horses can also get a lower resistance when temperatures decrease. In this period is a higher resistance very important to be able to handle the changes in autumn and winter. In addition, there are various nutrients such as rosehop, L-Lysine, Cat’s Claw, Nettle and Echinacea, that support your horse’s resistance.
Horses have sensitive intestines that can get unbalanced when changing the rations, when eating too much sand, after medication, or due to worms. The (partial) transition from pasture to stable and the change in roughage from grass to hay or silage can therefore unbalance your horse’s intestinal flora. Various herbs such as oregano, wormwood, cloves and rosemary can contribute to a good balance of bacteria, yeasts and fungi in the intestines.
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