With parts of Alberta hitting record lows and wind chills beyond belief this past week, we\’ve had time to do some internet surfing. If you\’re of the mindset that believes horses can survive winter on snow as a water source, here is some food for thought. In this video, Dr. Bettina Bobsien, who represented the BC SPCA on the Equine Code Development Committee, recently spoke about the new horse code requirements for water in winter in Canada.
As always, we welcome your feedback.
3 thoughts on “Watering Horses In Winter”
Given the freedom and the space, wild horses have fended quite well for themselves. The situation of domestic horses is quite different, they are made totally dependant on humans for all their basic needs and some humans fall short in this department.
For myself, I like my horses to have a supply of fresh water because it makes me feel better. However, horses survived on snow for a lot of years before we had the technology and power to keep their water sources from freezing. They also spent a lot of time pawing for feed, an activity which generated warmth in the cold temperatures.
I have witnessed some of my own horses eating snow, even though they had water available. This behavior goes back to their basic survival instincts and who can say with any certainty that they don’t know what is best for them?
I myself have had to keep my horses on straight snow in the winter with no access to water. It was not easy but keeping careful watch I noticed that they did indeed eat a lot of snow and seemed to mix bites of each. Trust the animal. Nature tells them what they need. We just have to make sure to anticipate their needs.
My horses have always had access to water all winter. However, I often notice that they hardly ever go to water when there is fresh snow and they are pawing for grass – and they get FAT. They tend to go to water when they are getting a lot of DRY hay. When they get beet pulp, and there is fresh snow, they completely ignore the available water which they have all year round.