The Magazine June 2020

Managing through winter

Posted 9th November 2020

Making the most of your time during the winter months can seem challenging. However, making a few small changes to your routine to tackle the colder conditions can make winter a breeze, as Fizz Marshall explains

Winter management

We all know the hallmarks of a British winter – chilly nights, frosty mornings and inevitable rainfall. Each of these brings their own trials for horse owners at a time of year made even more challenging by fewer daylight hours in which to get everything done.

That said, managing your horse at this time of year doesn’t have to be arduous or more time-consuming than usual. Adopting some simple care tactics and useful winter life hacks will help you make the most of winter days with your horse.

Great outdoors

In the majority of cases, allowing your horse turnout all year-round is the ideal. However, getting your horse out to the field and back in again can take a surprising amount of time if your paddocks are a distance from his stable.

It’s worthwhile looking at the rotation of available fields with a view to saving time in the winter months, ideally using those closer to the yard at this time of year. This’ll not only allow you to regain precious time, but also makes it easier to grab your horse in quickly should he decide that he’s been out long enough in cold, wet conditions. Spend some time thinking about how you could most helpfully configure your available paddocks, or chat to your yard owner about a potential field move.

Mud, glorious mud

If your horse is a fan of rolling in the field, muddy legs, face and feet will be something you have to deal with on a daily basis as the rain starts to come in. The last thing you want to do is fill your horse’s stable up with soil and stones, so set up a tie-up area outside if you haven’t already. This’ll allow you to pick out his feet before returning him to the stable after a hack or time in the field.

Ideally, position your external tie ring near the tap and invest in a hose pipe to wash off your horse’s feet and legs and towel dry them before he goes back to his stable. As well as drying his legs quicker, it’ll prevent you from having to brush mud off later.

Pick up a copy of January Horse&Rider, on sale 12 November, for more great ways to manage through this coming winter.

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