Winter Leg Care For Horses

Posted by wormers-direct on 16th Feb 2024

Winter Leg Care For Horses

With the winter dragging out, caring for our horse’s legs seems to be a constant worry, so we have put this guide together on winter leg care for horses. Their legs are vulnerable to injuries and infections, so the more we can do to look after them the better.

Keeping Them Clean

One of the best methods of preventing mud fever and skin infections in horses is by keeping them clean. This also means you can spot any problems early on if they aren’t plastered in mud the whole time.

Now although legs are best kept clean, we wouldn’t advise hosing or washing them regularly as this can provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mud fever. The best way to keep your horse’s legs clean is to allow them to try and then brush off the mud. If you do need to wash the legs (if you have a competition coming up, for example, then make sure you dry them properly and quickly).

There are also lots of different mud fever boots on the market now that can help keep the mud at bay while your horse is turned out. Boots like these should be changed regularly though, and removed at least once a day so the legs can be checked for signs of infection, damage or injury.

Equilibrium Close Contact Chaps

Taking Hair Off The Legs

There are often mixed reviews about whether or not you should keep the hair on your horse’s legs or clip it off. Some horses, such as hunters, who are in heavy work throughout winter are more likely to need clipped legs to allow for faster drying. If you have a horse who has thick feathers, again it may be a good idea to clip these off to prevent both mud fever and mite attacks. For those horses who have finer legs, keeping the hair on is a better idea as not only can it help protect from the damp, but also the cold too.

Be Careful of Slippery Ice

Icy conditions can be very hazardous for horses and it is often best not to ride when it gets too icy, otherwise you could be putting both yourself and your horse at risk of an accident. Clear snow and ice from the yard by spreading salt on regularly used pathways. If your horse does injure himself either prancing around in the field in the ice, or if he slips, make sure you apply an ice pack and compression immediately as this can help reduce inflammation.

Effol Ice Pack

Icing After Exercise in Winter

Most horse owners only tend to ice their horse’s legs in summer when the ground is hard and the temperatures are higher, but if your horse has recently come back from an injury then cold hosing in winter is important for his recovery. However, running a hose during freezing temperatures is not the safest thing to do - ice boots are the perfect alternative. They are clean, tidy and mean you can safely ice your horse’s legs in winter.

Ice Cool Stable Boots

Watch Out For Laminitis

Sunny days and frosty nights are the perfect conditions for producing lots of sugars in the grass, so if your horse or pony is prone to laminitis don’t forget about this in winter! Either wait until the frost has gone before you turn them out, or keep them in a non-grassy turnout pen/stable for the morning instead. As always, if you are worried about your horse’s laminitis then do get in touch with your vet as they will be able to provide you with qualified advice and treatment.

Let us know your tips for keeping your horse’s legs healthy during the winter months, we would love to hear them!