Assessing The Health Of Your Horse With BCS System
Horses are undoubtedly robust beasts, but even they require special care during winter. Dipping temperatures, shorter days, relentless snow and slush can put pressure on these hardy beasts. To protect these beautiful animals from the harshness of winter, it is imperative to evaluate their body condition.
The nine-point BCS or Body Conditioning Scoring is used to rate the health of your horse on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 denoting poor health and 9 denoting extreme fat. The BCS method rates the fat deposits on a horse’s body in relation to six key body parts:
- The loins
- The ribs
- The tail head
An ideal BCS score of 5 will be perfect for your horse to face the winter. The score signifies the presence of adequate amounts of fat to provide insulation against heat loss in the biting cold. Measuring your horse once every couple of months will allow you to monitor its weight loss and gain.
Keeping Your Horse Well-fed
Microbial fermentation is vital for the health of your horse. The only way to keep it at optimum levels is by providing your horse with ample fodder and forage to meet its increased energy needs. Microbial fermentation takes place in the horses hindgut, where the bacteria ferments the fibrous portions of the forage. A useful by-product of this microbial fermentation is body heat. Hence, the more fodder your horse eats, the better equipped he is to face the winter.
Provide Enough Water
Colic is one problem that horses often face when they do not drink enough water. This happens mainly because horses tend to much away on fodder as water sources freeze with the falling temperatures. Encourage your horses to drink more water by providing them with an insulated bucket which keeps the temperature of water between 45-65% degrees Fahrenheit. Entice them with wet hay, or add salts and electrolytes to enrich the water with vital nutrients. A healthy horse will consume at least 10 to 12 gallons of water per day.
Pamper Your Horse With Winter Comforts
Excessive snow and bad weather can temporarily halt your riding plans and give you enough time to pamper your prize pet and prime him for the summer.
- Increase grain intake by feeding more supplements like rice, bran oil and pellets.
- A warm shelter and a turnout blanket will make your horse feel comfortable and warm.
Horse owners need to look after horses with extra care during winter, especially if you are living in areas where harsh winters are common.