Crisp sunny mornings and the satisfying feeling when the horses are tucked up for the night in deep beds and cosy rugs is one of the pleasures I get from the winter months. I love a clipped horse and going for a ride when it’s cold but the sun is shining. However, it’s not all hot chocolates and blankets. The equestrian world is known for its resilience when it comes to battling the elements, nothing keeps us away from our beloved four-legged friends and we are mucking out and doing jobs come rain or shine.
We all dread the mud, we check the weather about 1000 times a day trying to make sure we rush appropriately. Buying in hay and bedding in the masses in case we get snowed in. Winter is definitely a challenging time when it comes to caring for our horses, so I decided to get some tips from our top Trendy rider Hayley Watson-Greaves on how she gets through the season.
1. Keep your hands warm
Put Hand hotties inside your gloves and boots to keep your hands and feet warm. Also, consider investing in some winter riding gloves, which are a bit thicker than summer weight ones.
2. Pre-warm your saddlepad
Warm the saddle pad on a towel rail or heater before you put it on your horse, to keep your horses back warm. Also, some pads are thicker than others, such as the Waivera saddlepad from Kingsland.
3. Keep exercising
Any exercise is better then none, with winter coming and horses may be in their stable for longer periods of time, exercises like carrot stretches are very important to keep the horses mobile and entertained (ask you Physio for good exercises for your horse)
4. Beat the freeze
Be prepared for frozen pipes, always fill up buckets of water the night before to make sure you have water for the horses in the morning, keep indoors and place a cover over the buckets to prevent the water freezing - your horse may drink less as it gets colder so try apple or carrot bobbing to ensure your horse is keeping hydrated.
5. You can't beat a good cuppa
Take a flask of hot water to the yard, for making Tea or coffee - cup-a soups are always a good winter warmer! I've treated myself to a Chillys bottle and it's been an absolute lifesaver.
6. It's not fun being left in the dark
It’s always wise to check your electrics and make sure your lighting is working properly or that you have charged batteries in torches. You don’t want to get caught out in the dark!
7. Don't let this trip you up
It’s also a good idea to buy some bags of salt before any snow is forecast as it sells out so quickly once the “S” word is mentioned. That way you can grit areas that may become icy.
Winter is always different every year and we really have to just go with the flow, so we mustn’t put too much pressure on ourselves. Being organised and prepared is the key to dealing with whatever winter has in store for us!
Keep warm ❄️