n If you show during the winter months or maintain a full riding or
training schedule, consider blanketing at night to keep your horse’s winter
coat from growing in. Or, if your horse is stalled at night, look into turning
lights on to mimic longer summer days. It’s the changes in light that trigger
winter coat growth, not cooler temperatures.
n Even if you don’t get winter snow, pasture grasses will slow their
growth rate or go dormant. Plan to increase hay rations to compensate for
the reduction in natural forage.
n Be on the lookout for signs of seasonal laminitis. Studies have shown
it can occur due to fall pasture growth following late rains, as well as the
normal seasonal rise in the hormone ACTH. If your horse exhibits signs
of laminitis with no other changes in feed or management, talk with your
veterinarian about blood tests for ACTH and PPID.
n Fall is a great time to address the health of your pasture. Contact your
n Capture your end-of-season knowledge. While it’s still fresh in your
mind, create master checklists of must-have horse and rider needs for your
sport or event. Replenish low supplies now, or set a reminder to do so
before next year’s show season begins.
state’s agricultural extension office to ask about reseeding, weed control,
fertilizing and soil sampling.
n If you blanket your horse in
the winter, take your blankets out of
storage and assess their condition and
fit. Repair or replace if necessary.
n Work with your veterinarian to
schedule any vaccination boosters
n Ask your veterinarian to
perform a dental health checkup
at the same appointment. This
is especially important if you’ve
noticed signs of dental issues, such
as dropping feed, leaving wet balls
of hay (called quids), bitting and
bridling issues, and trouble maintaining weight.
n Think about your manure
n Take a look at your buckets
and winter watering plan. Some
plastic buckets can shatter when
frozen, so consider replacing them
with rubber buckets.
n If you water your horses with a
communal water trough, have two
tank heaters on hand, and be sure
they are compatible with your tank.
n Develop a system to fill the
trough and immediately drain the
hose so it doesn’t freeze.
n Evaluate your own winter gear
and repair or replace as necessary.
Pull out your winter boots for feed-
ing and riding, warm socks, winter
gloves or mittens, hats and ear bands,
insulated pants, and coats for feeding
and riding. If you use hand or foot
warmers for long days at the barn,
stock up now.
management plan. Now’s the time
to make changes for winter disposal