Take care whilst managing your horse or pony in bad weather

Managing your horse or pony can be especially hard in really bad weather. Almost every day for the last 2 weeks we have attended injured horses. These have included fractured legs, pelvic injuries and several severe soft tissue injuries.

It’s impossible to safeguard your animal completely at pasture but kick injuries are much more likely following turn out after a period of confinement and competition for food inevitably generates conflict. Make sure there is at least one extra pile of hay if feeding a group at pasture and give consideration to turning out singly.

In addition to injuries, we have had two separate incidents of equine death from yew tree poisoning and two cases of rhododendron poisoning in sheep. It is definitely worth familiarising yourself with what plants are poisonous and having a good look around your fields. Horses are continual grazers, if given the opportunity the drive to eat all the time may lead them to consume plants they would never go near on a snow free pasture.

Make sure the water source is regularly cleared of ice. A big factor in the many colics we dealt with last winter was frozen water buckets and insufficient water intake. This contributes to both bowel impactions and displacements. Eating bedding and no exercise can also play a part too.

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