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Cold Weather Colic In Horses
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Cold Weather Colic In Horses

Horses are hardy animals and can handle the cold weather better than humans. But this does not mean that a horse owner can slack on their care and happily remain indoors. In fact, winter season brings unique challenges with it, which can make your horse susceptible to various health issues. Cold weather can wreck your horse’s gastrointestinal tract and may upset his digestive system. It is necessary for you to provide extra care and support to your horse, which can help him to maintain a happy and healthy hindgut. Here are some common cold-weather problems and simple tips to keep your horse healthy all winter.

Increased Stall Time

During the winter season, horses are usually confined to stalls for long periods. Cold weather also brings changes in your horse’s turnout and exercise schedule. Research shows that horses stuck in the stall for prolonged periods are at a greater risk of developing colic. Moreover, horses that have a significant change in activity are also at higher risk. 

To avoid such problems, keep your horse’s turnout and exercise schedule as consistent as possible. If severe cold weather or poor footing prevents your horse’s turnout time, then try hand-walking, longeing or riding. 

Inadequate Water Intake

During the winter season, some horses drink less water as the water is considerably colder. But horses require 10 to 12 gallons of water daily to keep themselves hydrated. If a horse becomes dehydrated, then he will lack adequate water supplies that help to pass feedstuffs through his digestive tract. So, if your horse does not drink a sufficient amount of water, they may suffer from colic or intestinal impaction.

To prevent your horse from dehydration, ensure that your horse has fresh water, which should be free from ice and available at all times. Some studies show that horses drink more water in the winter when it is lukewarm rather than ice cold. So, do not forget to add lukewarm water to buckets. Moreover, a heated bucket or water bucket cover can also prove helpful. You can also add salt or salt supplements or daily electrolyte to encourage your horse to drink water and keep themselves hydrated.

Hay and Grain Changes

Making changes to your horse’s hay or grain (either switching type or amount) can make them highly susceptible to colic disease. Moreover, studies have shown that changes in amount or type of grain can raise his risk up to five times.

It is important to keep your horse’s diet as consistent as possible. If you want to make any changes in your horse’s diet, then do it gradually over seven to ten days. During these feed transitions, you can give your horse a digestive supplement that offers yeast, prebiotics and enzymes to keep him healthy and happy.

Now that you are aware of the various colic risk factors, you can take essential steps to protect your horse’s digestive system from getting upset as the winter season arrives.


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  1. Tess
    Useful and interesting Information

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