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.
Mud glorious mud! Okay, we don't really enjoy the mud here at Simple System HQ, but most of us are having to deal with LOTS of it right now.
Not only is mud inconvenient for humans, but it can also bring about health concerns for our horses. Horses standing in mud for long periods of time are more prone to bacterial or fungal infections of the lower limb such as Equine Pastern Dermatitis, thrush and hoof abscesses. This is because persistently wet conditions can make the skin and hooves softer and more permeable to bacteria. Deep mud can also strain joints, tendons or ligaments due to slipping or a suction effect when moving.
Wading through wet fields isn't everyone's idea of fun but thorough, daily checks are essential. If your four-legged friend doesn't come to call, you're going to have to carry on trudging!
Ideally, your horse should have access to an area of dry footing for at least some of the day be this a stable, shelter, hard-standing or just a drier patch of the field. This is also the best place to check them over.
In these conditions extra care needs to be taken as wet, muddy legs can easily hide cuts, scrapes and swellings. Rather than brushing, run your hands up and down each leg, checking for lumps, bumps, cuts or heat. Make sure to check the pasterns and heels for any hair loss, crusting or scabbing - all of which can point to a case of Equine Pastern Dermatitis / mud fever.
Should you be concerned about mud fever, or rain scald, please view our latest management article by clicking here.
Pick your horses feet out daily, even if they are not in work, checking the outer hoof wall for any appearing cracks and removing any grit or stones from the sole and clefts of the frog. Once the hoof is clean, check the frog area carefully for a strong odour or black discolouration, both being signs of thrush. It can be beneficial to brush on some Organic Cider Vinegar to help keep any bacteria at bay.
Whilst holding the hoof, check for heat or “hot spots” – you might have to take your gloves off for this! – but it could point to an abscess or even laminitis.
Should you have any concerns about your horse when checking them over, it is always wise to consult your vet in the first instance.
If you require further advice please contact our 𝗙𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗟𝗶𝗻𝗲 experts on 𝟬𝟭𝟳𝟮𝟴 𝟲𝟬𝟰𝟬𝟬𝟴 or by 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝗻𝗳𝗼@𝘀𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺.𝗰𝗼.𝘂𝗸.