Can horses cope with sudden cold weather?
Horses can survive and even thrive in what we consider to be very inhospitable conditions, but they do need plenty of feed to fuel them and keep them warm.
We know that soaked feeds are best, but what about when the temperature drops and our soaked feed risks turning into a green iceberg? We have a few ideas! • Use warm water to soak the feed – this makes soaking very much quicker so once there are no hard bits left and it is cool enough (comfortable to your hand) it’s ready to go; • Wrap up the soaking feed with an old rug or pile hay around it. Even covering the tub with a feed sack helps; • Add a measure of Summer Salt to the feed as salt lowers the temperature at which it will freeze; • Take soaking feeds indoors. Even an unheated feed shed is better than being outside; • Sit them on the muck heap with a feed bag anchored over the top; • Your imagination will surely add to this list! If you are feeding horses outside in very cold weather, put the feed in a sheltered place such as near a hedge or wall or in the field shelter. This is probably the place your horse is choosing to stand so check unobserved by them to see where they are finding the sheltered places. Cold weather greatly increases the horse’s requirements, so be prepared, watch the weather forecast and put extra feed on to soak. Forage keeps them much warmer than grain-based feeds.