Horses

Winter care

  • Horses cope well in cold temperatures – it’s wind and rain that they can struggle with. Provide a windbreak, like a field shelter or even a line of trees
  • Fit a suitable rug that’s warm and waterproof
  • If he’s losing weight, increase your horse’s hay as this will help to keep him warm. Remember though, overweight horses are still susceptible to laminitis, even in winter
  • A tennis ball floating in the water trough can help slow the freezing process. Keep a tool handy to get rid of ice
  • Chilly winds can make horses ‘spooky’ and unpredictable so be alert when handling and riding
  • Walk your horse after exercise so he cools down slowly and, if necessary, use a cooler blanket to stop his body temperature from losing heat too quickly
  • Always wear reflective clothing when you’re out riding
  • Never ride if it’s foggy or icy

 

Fireworks season

  • Ask neighbours and firework display organisers to ensure fireworks are set off in the opposite direction, well away from your horse’s field or stable.
  • Keep your horse in a familiar environment, in his normal routine, to help him feel secure.
  • You or someone experienced should stay with your horse if you know fireworks are being set off, to observe his reaction, ensure he remains as safe and calm as possible, and respond appropriately.
  • If your horse reacts badly to loud noises, talk to your vet or perhaps consider moving your horse for the night … it’s a balance you will need to judge, between the stress of the noises, and the stress of the move.
  • Remain calm and positive – horses can sense unease and this could make things worse if the horse is startled.
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