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Horse Care in the Winter

Horse owners need to prepare for colder temperatures

The onset of winter means horse owners need to be prepared to assure their animals have water, feed and shelter of identifiable quality and quantity.

Looking for information on caring for horse in winter? Visit our equine Code training page

“Our Alberta and Canadian winters from north to south and east to west, have a great deal of variance, but there is one thing that is common: Our livestock need to be fed, watered and provided shelter,” says Bill desBarres, Chair of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada and member of the Alberta Equestrian Federation.

desBarres emphasizes that snow is not an acceptable replacement for water. Domestic horses need a good supply of potable water. Wild horses are different, they grew up eating snow and they know where and how to find open creeks and springs.

“We need to have good, wholesome feed,” adds desBarres. “I recommend that if you have any questions about your feed, take it to your local feed dealer and ask that it be analyzed for nutrition value and ask your veterinarian what supplements you might use.”

Shelter is also a necessity. desBarres suggests bushes are acceptable. Slab fencing is also adequate but in the event of blizzards and very bad weather, accessibility to buildings is highly recommended. The colder it gets, the more important it is to have adequate water and feed of identifiable quality and available shelter.

If anyone knows of an animal in distress, please contact your provincial SPCA or in some jurisdictions a Municipal By-Law office or one of the following:


British Columbia


  • Manitoba Agriculture Animal Care Line
    In Winnipeg: 204-945-8000
    Toll free: 1-888-945-8001

Nova Scotia




Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a friend or fellow horse person to alert people regarding the condition of their livestock. Please inform and encourage your friends, associates and fellow horse people respecting the importance of this matter. Further information may be found in the Resource section of this website.

The bottom line is the health and welfare of our horse(s)