Autumn is upon us, and winter is close behind, as the seasons change so do horse need to adjust to the change of weather with colder temperatures, more rain and shorter days. Here’s some tips to keep your horse healthy over the next few months.

Over autumn, horses have a higher chance of developing conditions such as laminitis, colic, hoof conditions and join issues. This little series of articles will look at a few of the common issues you may face and what you can do to prevent them.

  1. Keep an eye on feed and water intake

Due to the hot summer, we had the grass in the fields are busting back as they recover from the lack of water and extreme heat, this coupled with the drop in temperature, means the grass is having one last push before winter sets in. This means as the grass is growing its last shoots of the year their sugar levels will be high. Therefore, with the shorter days, your horse may be out for less and a sudden increase in sugar intake will cause weight gain (don’t I know about it!!!) and potentially make your horse more prone to developing laminitis. So, try and control this be either limiting turnout and make sure they have plenty of hay (which has less sugar) or that they are having a good activity/intake balance.

Additionally, as the temperature drops, horses naturally drink less water. This can be because horses generally do not like ice cold water and prefer water between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Also doing regular water changes helps as again horses prefer clean water. Also, some horses like their water a little sweetened, so adding a dash of cider vinegar or apple juice will encourage them to drink more.

Soaking or wetting hay before feeding is also a good way of getting water into your horse.

  1. Worming

In autumn grasses contain more worm eggs, so if you are worming your horse once a year this is the time of year you are most likely to use wormers. Obviously worms develop throughout the year, but with the combination of rich autumn grass, worms generally develop more in autumn, which can lead to further issues such as colic.

But do not overuse wormers on your horses, what is always best to do is get a faecal worm egg count, that way you can tell if your horse needs worming and what dosage. As over worming your horse can have its own issues as well.

Part two of your autumn checklist will be out soon, to keep up to date with articles, advice or to book a visit with me, follow me on Facebook @4legosteopathy