Christmas is a hard time of year for many people, even for those who are not horse owners. The running around to get all the Christmas dinner plans sorted, rushing to grab those last minute presents and make sure they are wrapped and under the tree before the big day.
For horse owners, there is that little extra stress. Horses still need looking after through the snow, rain, hail, gale force winds and whatever other unruly weather England throws at us. Christmas is an expensive time of year as it is and I am sure owners don’t want anymore payouts, especially through vet bills. Therefore, I have teamed up with Petplan to give you some tips on how to get through the Christmas period, keeping your horse happy, healthy and bill free!
1. Make sure to brush your horse daily
This allows you to notice any differences and changes in this body. Any cuts, nicks, bumps or lumps that could get infected or could progress into something more serious.
2. Pick their hooves out daily
The colder weather causes the ground to get harder, some parts of it are icey and some of us even have snow. Therefore by regularly picking out their hooves before turnout and once they have been brought in, it avoids any chance of lameness cause by ground material.
3. Keep them warm with extra rugs
Just like humans, horses feel the cold too. Whether they are turned out 24/7 or are stabled at night, they all require extra rugs during the colder weather. It may be a heavier turnout rug or a fleece/stable rug for stabled horses. Some of us even clip our horses, which is completely un-nautral, therefore we have to compensate with extra warmth for them.
4. Extra feed and hay
The winter means there is a drastic reduction in grass growth and therefore reduced grazing. This needs to be supplemented through extra feed and regular hay rations throughout the day, keeping weight and condition on the horses which is essential.
5. Do full mucks-outs
By doing a full muck out, all the fresh droppings and urine is removed from the horses bed, this provides the best environment for the horses health and reduces the chances of infections and mold growth within the bedding.
It’s understandable that time is tight, especially with the darker evenings, it makes it harder to get time to ride. However, exercising your horse is essential for his well being and health. Even if it means lunging for 20 minutes, it is better than no exercise at all.
I hope these tips helped and ensuring you all get through Christmas with happy, healthy horses with a fuller wallet.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Jan, who took these wonderful photos.
Until next time…