Thinking of keeping horses at Wild Horse Ranch? If you’ve never owned horse property—in Wyoming or elsewhere—something you might be wondering about is what you’ll do with your horses in the colder months.
A reality of life in Laramie is that we do get real winter. Laramie winters are fairly mild and we don’t get extreme sub-zero temperatures very often (Fahrenheit, that is), but you should plan for ice and snow.
While your domesticated equines can use a bit of help, horses live just fine outside all year round. “Wild Horse Ranch” isn’t just a name—there are actually wild horses living here, year-round. Even so, you should still plan ahead to make wintertime a bit easier on your animals.
Most of the year, horses at Wild Horse Ranch can do quite well living mostly on pasture. There’s normally plenty of grass for them to feed on. When the mercury drops, though, the grass goes dormant so they’ll rely on you to provide for their dietary needs.
Keeping the body temp up burns calories, so colder weather means your horses could need more food than they do in spring and summer. You should anticipate about a 25% increase in their total food consumption. If they get most of their calories from pasture, it may be harder to estimate their hay requirements in the winter; 2%-3% of their body-weight daily is a good rule of thumb.
They’ll drink a bit more if the water is on the warm side, and that’s a good thing. The extra hay they’re consuming means they need more water, too. A de-icer or bucket heater is recommended.
Winter is the time when your 3-sided shelter or stable will get the most use. Horses do tolerate cold better than we humans do, but they still need shelter from the elements.
While blankets aren’t essential for most horses, a lot of horse owners do prefer to blanket them when it’s cold. If you do, there are a few things to keep in mind.
· Never blanket a wet horse. If you’ve been out for a ride and the horse is sweaty, hold off on the blanket.
· Match the blanket to the conditions. Heavy blankets are for the coldest weather. On warmish days, a light blanket or none at all might be appropriate.
· Don’t leave the blanket on all the time. You’ll want to keep up with regular grooming, and make sure blankets aren’t getting soaked with sweat. As well, watch for any tears and repair them as necessary.
As long as you plan ahead, horses and people alike can enjoy all four seasons at Wild Horse Ranch. If you’re ready to give the property a closer look, give us a call at 888.968.7996 to set up a tour.