With Fall easing its way into the forefront, and Winter lurking in the wings, it's time think again your new year's resolutions
for your horse, to make sure that their next year is a good one too.
Have your veterinarian perform a fecal analysis that counts eggs per gram on each horse. Any horse over 200 EPG should be dewormed with a larvicidal dewormer
like Quest Plus or CombiCare +, or with Panacur Power Pack. Any horse that has a negative test should be dewormed with a tape worm effective
dewormer (one containing Praziquantel) after a good freeze if the horse has been on pasture, or not dewormed if there is no grass exposure.
Plan to recheck fecal tests in the spring.
If your horse is shod, have the shoes removed when there is continuing snow or mud, but be sure your farrier does minimal trimming at that time.
Use rubber boots and pain relief under the direction of your veterinarian if your horse is tender footed for a while after shoe removal.
SCHEDULE REGULAR TRIMMING AT 6 TO 8 WEEK INTERVALS THROUGHOUT THE WINTER. Some of the worst hoof cracks occur in winter in horses that are
allowed to splay their hooves on softer ground.
Prepare your water supply. Water barrels can be fitted with tank bottom heaters, but be sure ALL CORDS ARE PROTECTED FROM HORSE CHEWING.
Provide shelter from wind and wet. If using a waterproof blanket, be sure you take it off during the day to let the hair coat get some air and the
blanket can dry out. If your shelter or barn corrals are in a low spot add a base of 3/8 minus gravel to give your horse a dryer area to stand in.
Continue to pick up manure to reduce contamination and get ahead on next year’s fly reduction.
Feed 2 pounds of a low carb grass hay late in the evening when temps are going to be below 10 degrees. For each 10 degree drop, add 2 pounds of
grass hay that your horse can metabolize to maintain body temperature. Metabolism of grass hay produces more heat than does eating alfalfa hay or
any concentrate. Monitor your horse’s weight by feeling the ribs, behind the shoulders and over the rump—not by looking at the belly or at the side.
Winter hair can hide a lot.
Remember that cold weather riding requires 20-30 minute warm up before strenuous exercise and cool down and drying before stabling.
Fall dental exams using a dental mirror, explorer, and probe are important. Horses that have any bite abnormalities like waves, ramps, hooks, or step mouth, or the
presence of infundibular cavities or spaces between teeth that lead to periodontal disease may need occlusal equilibration at least twice a year. Your veterinarian can
only remove 1/8 of an inch at a time of teeth that are causing damage to a weakened opposing tooth or causing feed to pack into periodontal pockets. After 3 months,
further reduction can be done. Control of bite abnormalities is a lifelong process and periodontal disease should be diagnosed, treated, and rechecked at
least twice a year.