Riding horses in winter to provide exercise is a vital part of their care. We take a look at a few tips on how to keep your horse happy during winter riding.
Riding horses in winter – the warm-up.
More important than ever, is your horses’ warm-up. Correct warm up is essential to prepare the body for exercise and reduces the stress on the body. This in turn can help prevent injury. When it’s colder this warm-up time is even more essential. Further to that, if your horse has been stood in their stable, they may need more warming up too.
Here’s some things to consider for your warm-up:
- Did you know, it can take as long as 15 minutes or more to warm up muscles and joints – so make sure you factor this into your riding time.
- Make sure you build up the intensity slowly. This could include only using large shapes instead of small circles for a good while when riding.
- Before getting on, consider warming up your horses back muscles. Using the Massage Pad prior to riding can help warm their back up before putting weight on it. Use the Massage Pad over a rug so that your horse stays warm.
Riding in snow:
In the right conditions, snow can be great fun to ride in!
Here’s some points to consider to keep you both safe.
- Stay slow. Don’t get carried away and make sure you know the ground well underneath the snow.
- Soft, fresh powdery snow is better to ride on than compacted snow, which can ball up in their feet or be slippery.
- If you’re worried about snow balling in your horses’ feet, use Vaseline, grease or similar to encourage it to stay out.
- Avoid riding on hard frost or ice. It might be an obvious point but a necessary one!
- Keep your horses muscles warm. Consider using a quarters sheet, especially if they are clipped.
- Make sure the boots on your horses’ legs are suitable for wet conditions and don’t hold water. They are likely to get wet and if the hold water, they may slip and rub.
Care after riding in winter.
It doesn’t have to rain for your horse to get wet in winter when riding. Make sure you keep your horse dry and warm after riding. ‘Old fashioned’ methods such as thatching could help dry a horse, but there are also a lot of modern-day materials and rugs that can keep them warm while drying them quickly too.
Using a Massage Pad on top of a cooler or wicking rug while they cool can help with your horses cool down.
- Make sure feet are picked out – particularly after riding in snow.
- If your horses legs have gotten particularly wet or muddy, wiping them down with a towel can help keep the skin healthy.
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