The freezing temperatures, knee deep mud, dark nights (and mornings!) and fresh, stable bound horses are just some of the delights that horse riders can expect as we head into the winter months. But it’s vital to find ways to make life easier for you, your horse, and around the stables.
Luckily, there are a number of tips and tricks that can help. So, buckle up as we explain a few useful tips for the chillier season. Plus, see how you could win over £200’s worth of UNIBED bedding!
Around the paddocks
If there’s one key piece of advice for horse riders this winter, it’s to plan ahead. There’s always an unpredictable element to horse riding during the winter months, so being prepared for every eventuality will stand you in good stead.
Firstly, keep an eye on your weather app! Knowing what temperature to expect will help to rug horses appropriately and avoid them getting too hot or too cold overnight.
Secondly, have salt ready for the first freeze, so that your horses and cars aren’t sliding around on the yard. It could be very dangerous to move around without some extra grip.
And lastly, when the temperatures drop below zero, the taps can struggle and pipes can freeze up. Preparing water buckets the night before is a sensible option and means you can keep the horses hydrated even when the taps are out of order.
The right nutrition
Being aware of and adjusting feed in relation to turnout and workload is crucial to keeping horses sane. Providing enough forage is crucial, helping to satisfy their needs, especially when grass is not as readily available. It also helps horses keep warm, due to the way their digestive system breaks down the fibre.
However, it’s important to get the amount right. If horses are staying in for extended periods of time be sure to cut down their hard feed, as you’ll have happier and more manageable horses.
For the rider
Of course, it’s not just your horse affected by the cold – you will be too! That’s why a good set of thermals and over trousers will make an enormous difference and help keep away those chilblains. Footwear is another key area of clothing, as cold wet feet should be avoided at all costs!
Remember, you need to look after yourself, as well as your horse, to keep both of you safe and happy throughout the cold, winter months.
Of course, a drying room is ideal for warming up and drying off equipment after a cold or wet ride. But we don’t all have that luxury!
If your horse is warm and dry under their wet turnout rugs, you can leave them on for a couple of hours. Their body heat will soon dry them for you.
Making the perfect bed for your horse is such a satisfying activity. When it’s all swept back with nice level banks, we’ve all had that moment of glee. And now that the weather has turned much colder more horses are being brought into stables overnight. Creating a comfortable environment is vital for their health and wellbeing.
But with so many types of bedding to choose from it’s important to consider which would work best depending on your horse’s stable habits. And there’s been a lot of discussion in recent years about the environmental repercussions of using particular bedding types. If we wish to enjoy the outdoors, which is at the core of our sport, we must look after it and protect its future.
One option is to choose a material that’s already a natural byproduct of modern-day farming, such as UNIBED. As an affordable, straw based product, it’s truly one of the best options for messy horses especially, absorbing and retaining all moisture, and rotting down efficiently. This results in smaller muck heaps, which can be spread straight back onto the land, creating a perfect cycle!
Your chance to win!
We’ve partnered with UNIBED, to offer an incredible prize. One lucky winner will receive a whole pallet of UNIBED bedding. Simply click here to enter and be in with a chance of winning.
If you would like to talk to our equine insurance specialists call the team directly on 01743 455911. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.