1. KEEP YOUR HORSE HYDRATED.
Any discussion of winter colic needs to start with hydration. Impactions are more likely to form with dry feed, and horses, for a number of reasons, tend to drink less in the winter.
As simple as it may seem, frozen water is the most common reason I see for horses becoming dehydrated in the winter. A water bucket can freeze within six to 12 hours, so if you’ve filled it in the early evening, your horse very well may spend some part of the night without water. If you chip away the ice and refill the bucket in the morning, the water may freeze again by the afternoon. A horse needs to drink from eight to 10 gallons of water a day, and that can be difficult if all he has is ice half the time.
So your first line of defense against winter colic is to make sure your horse’s water source never freezes. There are many methods to accomplish this.
A variety of products, ranging from insulated buckets to tank heaters, can help keep water flowing. Keep in mind, however, that if an electrical component for one of these products shorts out, your horse will be zapped each time he goes for a drink. If he isn’t drinking from a bucket or trough equipped with a heating element, offer him water in a “low-tech” plain bucket. If he drinks,