A Guide to Winter Horse Health


Caring for your horse in the winter can be challenging, especially for those in colder climates.

With the unusual weather patterns of winter, along with common threats like snow and ice, winter conditions can take their toll on a horse’s body, making it imperative to keep a close eye on your winter horse health care between November and March.  

Equine Electrolytes Aren’t Just for Summer

In the summer, it’s easy to physically see why a sweating horse needs electrolytes and a little extra help keeping hydrated. But electrolytes aren’t just for summer– they’re important during colder months too.

Electrolytes and minerals are imperative for numerous bodily functions such as maintaining cellular fluid balance, transmitting nerve impulses, and the healthy function of muscles.

Horses tend not to drink as much when it’s cold, mainly due to their body temperature, so keeping water buckets as warm as possible and free of ice is important. During the summer months, lush pastures contain 60 to 80 percent moisture and can significantly contribute to your horse’s daily water requirement. 

Between not drinking as much and getting less moisture from grass, dehydration in winter months is a bigger threat than horse owners may realize.

If left untreated, dehydration can lead to muscle spasms, poor oxygen and energy transport throughout the body, heart and kidney problems, anhidrosis, poor recovery, and other potential health concerns.

Orange-A-Day  and Apple-A-Day  electrolyte supplements help promote healthy hydration in the horses. Because these products do not contain any sugars, they’re safe to feed to your horse daily. 

For horses traveling or working heavily in the winter, Electrocharge™ is an oral paste that is a handy, convenient way to be sure your horse isn’t getting dehydrated. This paste absorbs rapidly, and the blend of electrolytes and mineral salts is ideal for keeping your horse hydrated on the go.

Equine Electrolytes and minerals Finish Line Horse Products Apple a Day

Winter Joint Care for Horses

One of the easiest, albeit sometimes overlooked, ways to help keep your horses’ hooves strong is by feeding supplements that support overall hoof health.

Biotin is a proven ingredient that helps increase hoof wall growth and quality. Studies have shown having adequate levels of biotin in a horse’s diet will support strong hooves and could even help repair brittle or cracking hooves. The more often a horse can replace and grow out a hoof, the healthier the hoof will be.

Biotin is one of the most important ingredients found in Finish Line’s Feet First® Coat 2nd supplement. Along with Biotin, Feet First Coat 2nd  also contains flaxseed, natural essential fatty acids, methionine, zinc, vitamins A, E, C, and other essential ingredients for hoof health.

While many hoof supplements contain biotin and other similar hoof health ingredients, Feet First Coat 2nd is unique because it also contains fatty acids which are typically missing in other products. 

Many of the ingredients in Feet First Coat 2nd, such as the fatty acids mentioned above, are not only helpful for keeping a horse’s hooves strong and healthy but have the added benefit of helping with overall healthy skin and coat.

An easy way to be sure your horse is not only getting a supplement to support hoof health but also a wide variety of other essential vitamins and nutrients they need to perform their best, is by adding a multi-purpose daily supplement, like Total Control®, to your horse’s health regime.

Not only does Total Control® contain the full daily dose of Feet First® Coat 2nd, but it also combines the full doses of Finish Line’s four other best-selling products: Apple-A-Day™ electrolytes, Iron Power® for healthy blood counts, Fluid Action® HA for joint support, and U-7™ Gastric Aid for digestive support

A Case of the Winter Horse Coughs 

Wintertime is when we tend to hear our horses coughing more often.

While a horse’s cough could be caused by several reasons, a few reasons could be due to irritating allergens from spending more time inside. Things like poor ventilation, riding in dry dusty indoor arenas, flip-flopping weather, and more exposure to airborne debris and mold found in shavings are usually to blame for many minor winter coughs. Equine asthma, which can be made worse by indoor allergens, could also be the culprit.

Air Power is an all-natural oral syrup featuring ingredients like menthol, which has a cooling effect that helps relieve irritation and coughing, as well as Eucalyptus which is a known expectorant that loosens phlegm in the respiratory tract.

This equine allergy relief formula promotes healthy breathing overall and suppresses coughing, so your horse is more comfortable. Typically just one dose will keep a horse from coughing all day long. It is even safe for use prior to showing or racing.

Winter Hoof Care for Horses

Caring for your horses’ hooves becomes even more important in the winter.

Walking on rough, frozen ground can create complications, like sole bruises and abscesses. On the other hand, when the ground begins to thaw, standing or walking in muddy areas can then soften hooves by allowing them to absorb too much moisture. 

Wet ground and the hoof being excessively exposed to moisture can also lead to thrush, a bacterial infection that invades the hoof tissue. If left untreated, thrush can cause more extensive damage to the internal structures of the foot, leading to lameness and other secondary issues. In most cases, thrush is preventable by maintaining dry footing, clean hooves, and regular turnout or exercise.

However, if a horse does contract thrush, you can use a thrush treatment in the cracks and crevices of the hoof and frog after cleaning the hoof out well with a hoof pick. Your farrier should also carefully remove all affected tissue to allow more oxygen to saturate the area so that the fungus is exposed, which can help treat thrush as well.

Cracks in the hoof wall are another common issue in the winter. More often than not, cracks in the hoof are weather-related. The constant changes in winter weather and wet/dry cycles on a horse’s feet are what typically cause these weather cracks.

Supplements are a great way to ensure your horses’ feet stay healthy and strong all winter. Feet First Coat 2nd contains Biotin, Flaxseed, Natural Essential Fatty Acids, Methionine, Zinc, Vitamins A, E, C, and other ingredients that are essential for hoof health, especially in the winter.

While many hoof supplements contain biotin and other similar hoof health ingredients, Feet First Coat 2nd is unique because it also contains fatty acids which are typically missing in other products. They are not only helpful for keeping a horse’s hooves strong and healthy but have the added benefit of helping with an overall healthy skin and coat – which can tend to be dry and dull in winter months.

Overall, picking out and inspecting your horses’ feet often is the best way to ensure their hooves are staying healthy and that there is no infection or injury present.

Hopefully, these winter horse health tips will have your horse feeling their best – even during the colder months!



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