You have probably noticed the nights drawing in and a marked drop in temperature at night now. Some parts of France have already experienced some frosty mornings, meaning winter will soon be upon us. It’s important to recognise that most equines will need slightly different levels of care at this time of year depending on age, breed and use. You may have noticed your equine has started to grow a hairy coat, if you are doing very rigorous work you may want to think about having him partly clipped out so that he doesn’t sweat quite so much. If you aren’t going to be working them hard then it’s best to let nature take its course and allow them to grow a thicker coat to keep warm naturally. Some horses just don’t grow a thick enough coat to keep them adequately warm, in these cases it might be necessary to start rugging them up with a light weight outdoor rug at night time and removing it before it gets too warm in the mornings.
Have you seen yellow eggs on your horses legs and stomach? These are insect larvae produced by adult bot flies – you may have seen the bee like insects lingering around your horse in the field. If licked off the larvae can get into the horse’s mouth, later attaching themselves to the stomach lining where they develop into full-grown bots. This can lead to ulcers in the stomach and be fatal.Hard frosts will eventually kill off the adult flies but until then it’s important to try and remove the bots with a tool such a bot knife seen here or a grooming block.
Autumn worming needs to address bots and tapeworms, Equimax is an example of a wormer you could use for these. There is some easy to understand advice on worms that horses can carry and the different categories of wormers here.
A common misconception is that laminitis will not strike at this time of year – WRONG. The sudden flush of rich grass at this time of year is high in soluble carbohydrate, which can contribute towards laminitis. There is some more information on laminitis on our welfare page or take a look here.