After the terrible winds, we all want to let our horses out for some air but what do you do if, like now, there is snow on the ground?
What if they damage a leg on the icy floor? Will health problems arise if you keep your horse confined?
Professional yards tend to keep their horses in during the wintry weather due to the safety risk however, if you have a sensible horse who you can turn out onto a pretty flat field, it will be a benefit. Horses are like us humans remember, if they are kept in for a long period of time, they can become grumpy, increase their risk of colic and dust allergies which can result in them being dangerous to handle. It is sensible to turn your horse out if they are not likely to gallop about and the land is not frozen and poached. Don’t forget that snow can weigh down electric fencing tape so will need clearing regularly.
Can I ride in the snow?
As with turning out, riding in the snow is up to the rider’s judgement. By doing things like greasing your horse’s feet with petroleum jelly, this can help stop your horse from slipping. Like turning out, you should ride a horse that does not spook easily.
If possible, head to a beach to exercise your horse or hire an indoor school.
What about the rugs I use on my horse?
Remember to adjust rigs when the weather takes a turn for the better so that your horse doesn’t over heat as well as to protect against mud fever when turning out.
WHW (World Horse Welfare) and the RSPCA recommend that field-kept horses need protection such as a thick hedge or field shelter (https://www.primestables.co.uk/our-range/mobile-field-shelters/)
Keep your horses safe, whatever the weather.
The Stable Doctor
Advice is given without legal responsibility
Research: Horse and Hound, World Horse Welfare