Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Look After your Horse during the Winter

 {November is a great month for learning.  The show season is basically over, everyone is preparing for Christmas and adjusting to the new colder temperatures.  I have been honored with another guest post that will give you some tips on what to do to prepare for your horse keeping this winter.  Thanks so much to Claydon Horse Exercisers for their expertise!}


How to Look After your Horse during the Winter

Your horse is most likely your pride and joy and making sure it is looked after during the winter should be a priority. There are a number of ways in which you can prepare both your horse and the stables for the cold months. Make sure you priorities these tasks so that the biggest ones are carried out first.

Prepare the Stable

Stables can become very cold during the winter and without enough preparation, the horse can become extremely unwell from being subjected to freezing temperatures. Take a look around the stables for anywhere that drafts could get in. If you find any holes or cracks, get this fixed as soon as possible so that as much heat stays in the building as it can do.

Keep a large stock of bedding so that during the winter months there can be constant changes. A good idea may be to put down rubber mats as these will cushion the floor and protect the horse from lying on cold concrete. It will also make for a much more hygienic area as these can be washed down easily.


 Prepare for Riding

Your horse will still feel the cold even if it is not as much as you will. If you are allowing them to roam around the fields then make sure they have a blanket on to cover them up during the freezing temperatures. Before riding, warm up all of the items that the horse will come in to contact with including yourself. Warm your hands and the items under warm water so that the cold feeling will not shock the horse. A good idea is to groom your horse as this will get the blood flowing and will warm the skin.

Change your Riding Path

If you often ride on the roads or perhaps up a steep hill, change this path for winter riding. If the roads are icy or the ground is frozen, it can be very difficult for the horse to keep balance and can cause pain in their hooves. Find a path which is suitable but bear in mind that you may have to change this regularly throughout the winter. To give them exercise you could also use a horse walker as this will allow them to stretch their legs but will not mean you have to venture out of the grounds.



After the Ride

One of the most essential tasks to carry out is to clear out the hooves once you are back from a ride. You do not want the mud and stones to freeze within their hooves and cause both pain but also potentially permanent damage. This could cost you a fortune in vet’s bills and could be extremely painful for your horse.

You should also make sure that you dry your horse if you have been out in the snow and rain and make sure they are back to a regular temperature. You may even find that your horse is a fan of receiving a blow dry.

This post was written by Amy Bennett who has loved horses since she was a child and now owns a Paso Fino named bolt. She relies on her horse walker from Claydon Horse Exercisers during the winter months.


 {I want to add my own opinion here that I am loving these horse exercisers.  Having lived in the UK and Ireland for some time, horse exercisers are a regular part of their horse care and training.  William Fox Pitt was talking about this at a recent clinic, how in North America not enough people take advantage of these systems and utilize them for warm up and cool down.  They are more common in Europe due to the limited turn out space, but they do have a place here with us in the US and Canada.  Racing Stables are big on them and can be found there, but perhaps we can get the eventing stables to start following suit.  I think I will have to add one of these to my Christmas list this year.  I like to dream big.}

Thanks Amy and Claydon Horse Exercisers for sharing your thoughts on looking after your horse this winter!


5 comments:

  1. Great tips and especially good for someone like me who wouldn't know what to do with a "real" winter.

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  2. Thankful that CA has a "mild" winter " :)

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  3. Very interesting! We have lots of horses around here that are ridden throughout the winter... and I always wonder how they keep their footing on the icy trails.

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