How to prepare your horse for winter
With winter fast approaching it is the perfect time to make preparations and ensure you are ready for a smooth transition to the colder months.
Here are our top tips for preparing for winter...
With a wide variety of bedding options to choose from it can make it difficult to choose the right one for you and your horse.
There are different factors to take into consideration;
- Cost – What is your budget, best value for money
- Dust – Does your horse have any allergies
- Storage space.
- Lavender scented, masks odour and proven to have calming properties
- Great value – spreads up to 35% further than an equivalent sized bale of softwood shavings
- Environmentally friendly – a by-product of a local wood mill and biodegrades within 4 to 8 months.
- Effective antibacterial properties
- Cut larger for added support and protection
- Easy to use and maintain
- Dry, absorbent and resilient.
- Manufactured from a particularly high grade of source material
- Low maintenance
- Easy to muck out and store.
As the temperature starts to drop, many of us will be thinking about what rugs we’ll need for winter.
Understanding your horse’s individual needs in regards to rugging is extremely important; there are many factors to take into consideration when deciding what rug to use:
- Temperature – Weather conditions, understanding what weight rug your horse requires in what temperature
- Breed – Different breeds and coat condition play a big factor in what rug you use e.g. Thoroughbreds with a thin coat will need a rug with more fill, whereas a native may require a lightweight or nothing
- Whether clipped or not – The type of clip can depend on what rug style and weight you use on your horse.
A great option is to think about layering with liners, here are a few great options of rugs to see you through the change in seasons:
Amigo Bravo 12 plus Bundle £225.00 – An easy way of changing your horse's rug depending on the weather. The Amigo Bravo 12 Plus comes with a 50g outer rug and hood, 100g and 300g liner to swap and change as desired
Weatherbeeta Comfitec Plus Dynamic Combo £90.00 – Comfortable, durable and great value for money. This rug is super strong and durable 1200 denier with repel shell coating that is both waterproof and breathable. 100g fill.
Feeding horses in winter can be a challenge – with lack of grazing, horses living out full time will need additional forage. Good quality hay or haylage should be provided to compensate for this.
You may also need to take into consideration whether your horse is a poor doer and is prone to weight loss during the winter months. Other factors to take into consideration when feeding are:
- Feeding older horses
- Feeding for weight gain
TopSpec Performance Lite Balancer £29.00 – Good for horses in hard work that keep weight well and don't require the calories.
Equerry Conditioning Mash £12.99 – A quick-soaking mash for horses that need to gain weight and condition with low levels of starch and a non-heating formula.
R&R Country Conditioning Mix £11.25 – Great for fussy eaters, the R&R Country Conditioning Mix is very palatable and helps improve the condition, build topline, and support muscle tone without causing excitability.
Equine America Coff-Less £42.99 – For horses with weak respiration, laboured breathing, or who have a sensitivity to dust and mould spores found in the air, hay and bedding.
Yard equipment/stable kits
Ensure you are well equipped and prepared with all the necessary tools to complete all yard duties during the winter months. If your horse is stabled you will need to ensure you have all the tools to help with the mucking out process and ensure your horse is stimulated for longer periods inside:
- Mucking out tools – Fork, sweeping brush, wheelbarrow
- Hay nets – Top tip: Make your life a little easier by pre-filling hay nets the night before so it cuts down time in your morning routine
- Water buckets – Ensure your horse always has access to clean fresh water
- Stable toys – Stables toys are a great way to keep your horse entertained during prolonged stable time, providing enrichment and mental stimulation.
Shires Greedy Feeder Net £14.99 – Slows your greedy feeder down for better digestion and extended stable activity. Very small holes let hay or haylage out slowly.
Likits Boredom Buster £17.75 – Provides great mental stimulation for longer periods of time in the stable.
This is the time of year when you will be making the decision whether to clip or not, and what type of clip will be best suited to your horse.
There are many factors to take into consideration prior to clipping your horse:
- Make sure the coat is clean and dry prior to clipping, as dust and dirt in the horse's coat can damage the clipper blades. Clipping a clean horse will also give you a neater clip
- You should choose the type of clip depending on your horse's workload – if your horse is only in light work you may want to consider a bib clip or low trace. If your horse is in heavy work you may want to consider a full body or hunter clip
- Rugs – If you are clipping your horse you must make sure you have all the appropriate rugs in order to keep your horse warm and comfortable post-clipping, as you are removing the natural layer of protection
- Make sure your clipper blades are sharpened and well oiled prior to clipping to ensure the blades run smoothly through the horse's coat
- Ensuring that your horse is comfortable and relaxed, hold the clippers gently on the horse's shoulder to get them used to the noise and vibration. You should always clip against the direction that the coat lies.
01 October 2019