Top UK equestrian website offers winter care tips for horse owners

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Leading equestrian website is offering expert tips for horse owners to help keep equines in the best of health over the winter months.

With temperatures falling – and set to fall further over the coming weeks – horses and ponies require more stable management care than ever.

Given that keeping horses warm, well sheltered, properly fed and correctly exercised is more challenging at this time of year, that can be easier said than done.

But by following’s top tips, horse owners can rest assured their equines will be in the best condition when spring comes around.

1. Make sure shelter is adequate

Horses can thrive in cold conditions, but even the sturdiest equine requires shelter when conditions are particularly bad. In general, a simple, correctly placed, three-sided, roofed structure provides the best cover, whether it’s windy, raining or snowing (or even all three!).

2. Take care of winter rugs

While not all horses (especially the native types) require rugging up, when the weather turns wet and cold, many need extra help to keep warm. If your horse needs rugs (if conditions are particularly bad or if your horse’s coat is not thick enough, for example) it’s vital to make sure your rugs are in good condition and don’t leak. A wet, ill-fitting or damaged rug is likely to do more harm than good.

3. Understanding winter feeding

More important than anything else is to make sure your horse has plenty of hay and fibre. The digestion of hay – aided by having fresh water available – is the process by which horses keep themselves warm. A well balanced, correct diet helps ward off the worst of the winter’s chill.

4. Know what’s “normal” for your horse

Being aware of what constitutes “normal” behaviour is crucial as far as spotting changes is concerned. Often changes in mannerisms, eating habits and sleeping patterns are tell-tale signs that something is wrong. Being aware enough to spot them when they occur will ensure you’re not caught out when something does go wrong.

5. Make your first visit of the day as early as possible

If your horse isn’t stabled at home or on full livery, make sure you get to your horse early in the day so you can act on anything that requires attention.
If he’s living out, make sure you do daily checks such as breaking ice in troughs, checking rugs and looking out for any injuries or cuts which may require attention. After all, it’s easier to assess the situation and act on anything urgent during daylight. Give yourself that chance and your horse will benefit.

NOTES FOR EDITORS is the website for Horse Deals magazine: the UK’s leading monthly equestrian sales magazine.

On the site, horse owners will find everything they need to ensure their equines are kept in top condition over the winter, including rugs and shelters, plus weekly veterinary advice from Horse Deals vet, Ed Lyall BVetMed CertEM (StudMed) MRCVS.

For more information contact:

Barbara Young (Editor)
E: byoung (at) horsedeals (dot)

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Barbara Young
Horse Deals
(01733) 395 053
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