Winter Prep Care Checklist

By Siun Griffin, Equine Physiotherapist, LCAO Community Manager


#1 Dentist

Your horse should have a dental exam and float at least once per year. Ensure this is done by a veterinarian with expertise in equine dental or a highly qualified equine dentist.

#2 Vaccinations

Are your horse’s vaccinations up to date? Many horses need fall shots. What they will need will depend on where you live. Speak to your vet about what is needed.

#3 Colic Risk

Fall weather means lots of temperature fluctuation and as it gets colder horses may drink less. Diet can also change as horses come in off grass. All of these can increase colic risk. Plan to reduce the risk as much as possible.

#4 Deworming

Speak to your vet about fall deworming. While it is a good idea to carry out fecal egg counts, these don’t detect all types of worms, such as tapeworms. This is a good time of year to target tapeworms & bots.

#5 Sycamore Poisoning

Sycamore seed poisoning is a real risk if the seeds land in your horse’s pasture. Keep in mind the seeds can blow into paddocks even if you don’t have a sycamore tree. Learn how to reduce the risk and recognize the signs.

#6 Nutrition

Evaluate the condition of your horse and past winter history. Put a plan in place to ensure they have adequate nutrition for their needs over the winter when there is no grass available.

#7 Blankets

Good through your blankets and ensure they are clean and not damaged. Horses at work will likely need to be clipped to prevent sweat from causing them to get too cold. If you don’t clip or blanket, it is still a good idea to have a couple on hand in case they’re needed.

#8 Safety Checks

This is a good time to do a clean and safety check of your stables or horse shelter. Ensure they are clean, and dry, with good ventilation but minimal drafts. Check electrics for any damage as barn fires are more common in fall and winter.

#9 Rodent Proof

Ensure your horse feed is stored in rodent-proof containers and try to avoid rodent access to hay stores as best you can

#10 Exercise Plan

Winter means your horse’s exercise can become more restricted. Ensure you have a plan to get your horse moving each day, even if it’s hand walking, especially if they are stabled most of the time during winter.

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