The winter months are always a challenge for us horse owners, so what is handier than a blog compromising of tips, tricks and hacks that help combat the winter!
Things that often go forgotten and need reiterating are…
Exercising your horse
If it’s miserable weather and you aren’t too keen on venturing out, then it’s likely to be unpleasant for your horse also! But if you are braving the horrid weather, be sure to wrap your horse up in a waterproof exercise sheet to keep their muscles warm and dry!
Lunging or a horse walker (if you’re lucky enough to have access to one) can be super beneficial as a way of exercising your horse when daylight is limited.
Happy healthy horse
Additional oils to feeds can help maintain the good condition of your horse when entering the winter months. If your horse lives out, it is still super important to check on them twice a day if the weather is bad, as this will enable you to monitor if there are any deteriorations. Hose and towel drying muddy legs in the quest to prevent mud fever can really help. Cut tails so they are shorter in the winter to encourage mud free areas too! If your horse gets sweaty from riding, ensure you wash down with warm water so they don't catch a chill.
Around the yard
Unplug the hose to prevent freezing at the mains tap. As a contingency plan, have two large containers of water already filled and ideally kept undercover to use for topping up water buckets/troughs. If possible, placing hardcore or shavings around gateways to prevent destroying the ground or falling in mud would be great!
Looking after yourself
Wear thermals… you can’t wear too many! It maybe old school but you cannot beat a tucked in t-shirt or vest. Wear a woolly hat when you aren’t in your riding hat to keep you warm. Supply lots of hot drinks too.
Tips & Tricks that I use
Insulate your water buckets.
Use a tennis ball in the water troughs to prevent freezing (it should bob and float around to keep the water moving).
Ensure stable bedding is in copious amounts so your horse can snuggle down and keep warm.
Make sure you’re feeding your horse enough if grazing is scarce/frozen. I know Bella never complains when I'm able to give her a lunch/bigger dinner!
Grab a cheap set of connected oven gloves… lay over the withers of a horse and fill two hot water bottles with warm water, place them in the hand parts of the over gloves and you have a great little warmer for your horse before bed.
I hope you find this helpful as we appear to be heading into colder weather. Remember, every horse and set up is different so do what works for you, I just hope a few of these ideas can be taken to make life easier when owning a horse in the winter.
Stay warm and enjoy your horses,
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
Equine Sports Massage & Rehabilitation Therapist