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Horse Care in the Winter

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Horse owners need to prepare for colder temperatures

The onset of winter means horse owners need to be prepared to assure their animals have adequate water, feed and shelter.

“Our Alberta and Canadian winters from north to south and east to west, have a great deal of variance, but there is one thing that is common: Our livestock need to be fed, watered and provided shelter,” says Bill desBarres, chairman of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada and member of the Alberta Equestrian Federation and the Alberta Farm Animal Care Association (AFAC).

desBarres emphasizes that snow is not a replacement for water. Domestic horses need a good, clean supply of potable water. Wild horses are different, they grew up eating snow and they also know where to find the open creeks and are able to locate these even better than man can.

“We need to have good, wholesome feed,” adds desBarres. “I recommend that if you have any questions about your feed, take it to your local feed dealer and ask that it be analyzed for nutrition value and ask your veterinarian what supplements you might use.”

Shelter is also a necessity. desBarres suggests bushes are acceptable. Slab fencing is also adequate but in the event of blizzards and very bad weather, accessibility to buildings is highly recommended. The colder it gets, the more important it is to have good water, good feed and good shelter.

If anyone knows of an animal in distress, call your provincial farm animal care group or your provincial SPCA.

Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) Livestock Care ALERT Line 1-800-506-2273

BC Farm Animal Care Council (BCFACC) 604-287-3276

Farm Animal Council Saskatchewan (FACS) Farm Stress Line & Livestock Care Service 1-800-667-4442

Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC) Farm Animal Helpline 519-837-1326

Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a friend or fellow horseperson to alert people regarding the condition of their livestock. Please inform your friends, associates and fellow horsepeople of the urgency of this matter.

The bottom line is the welfare of our horses.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 March 2011 15:11 )