Having a horse or a pony as part of your animals on a farm, or even just as a hobby you have where you keep them somewhere else away from your home can be extremely rewarding. Riding a horse, hacking out or competing can give you such a thrill, and the enjoyment can be beyond anything else. But while they can be a lot of fun on the leisure side of things, it is also important to remember that they do require a great deal of care and investment. They are certainly not the cheapest of animals to own, that is for sure.
However, for many horse owners the enjoyment and love they get from horse ownership far outweighs the financial commitment that is required. However, if you are considering getting a horse or pony, or you have one right now during the winter months, there are things that you can do to ensure that you take extra care of the animal from now up to the spring and the summer. That is during the warmer months they get much more opportunity to get out in the fields and graze. So here are some of the things you need to know to ensure you taking extra care of your believes horse.
Exercising your horse is so important
During the winter, it can be quite dangerous to turn your horse to graze all of the time. The bad weather with rain and snow can leave grassy fields extremely muddy and slippery. For them to run around and suddenly slip or misinterpret their next steps could cause the horse to become lame or injured. Also the mud can be quite deep at times, which may then cause horseshoes to become loose. So while you still want them to go out, more on that in the next point, you do need to try and exercise them more often. That might be hacking out or exercising them in a ménage or arena. Enabling them to use up some energy and also keep their own fitness levels high will be important, especially if you compete on your horse.
Enabling your horse to still be out and graze
You may not always get the opportunity to hack out or exercise your horse for as much as you would like, so grazing is still going to be important during the winter and spring months. So this is when you want to ensure that you have the right things to keep your horse warm, dry and also help when it comes to keeping them clean. Investing in a decent horse rug can do that for you. Thankfully, you can now look online to find the right one for you. Bear in mind that sizes and shapes of horses are different due to the breed, so it might be worth getting the measurements before placing an order.
Extra care in the stables
A horse or pony may have to stay in longer than you would like at times, die to bad weather, so it is essential to keep up to date with stable maintenance. If your horse has been in most of the day, it is likely that they will need their bedding mucked out and fresh bedding in the from or straw or shavings more frequently. If the bedding underneath remains too wet for too long, then this can also cause problems for your horse in the long term.
Think about the diet
Colder weather means that you might want to take into account their diets. It might be that you want to increase the serving, or perhaps offer alternative feeds with extra substance to help keep them warm during the night. There will be feeds that you can consider to help keep them fuller for longer, and also hay bags in their stables can give them something to continue to “snack” on once they have eaten their feed.
Start thinking about the summer months now
Finally, for many horse owners, now is the ideal time to start thinking about the summer months and the next season of competitions. Whatever it is you do, be that endurance riding, dressage, showing or jumping, training will be needed to help get ready for the next lot of events. Plan your schedule of events accordingly, then slowly start to build up now with your exercise and training. The more you do, the more prepared you and your horse will be, and now is the ideal time to start putting those thoughts into practice.
Let’s hope this has given yous one thing extra to think about when it comes to your horses and their level of care.
*This is a collaborative post