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YOUR top tips for Winter

horse in rug winter autumn field close contact equichapsAs we know, winter can be challenging, not only with reduced daylight and freezing temperatures, but we also seem to have less time and sometimes, motivation!

We asked you what your top tips were for winter with horses, and this is what you said (with a few additions of our own!).

Feeding:

  • Put clips on haynets, saves trying to undo knots and tie up haynets when you’ve got frozen fingers or gloves on! Amy Carter
  • But some cheap plastic bowls or Tupperware and make up 10 feeds at a time – very useful if you need occasionally need to call for help if you’re stick at work! Jenny Browne 
  • Preparation…. I try to fill all my haynets on my day off to last me up to a week at a time. Rachel Lansdown
  • As the grass gets poor and limited over winter and the sun seems to go into hibernation, horses may not be receiving all the nutrients they require. Simplysunshine, our super concentrated balancer, is fortified with Beta-Carotene and Vitamin D, which are normally found in fresh grass and sunlight – perfect for the dark winter months
  • I have 3 horses they all have footballs in haynets filled with carrots.then hung from the roof. Elizabeth Lewis
  • If your horses are stables and get bored, hide apples, carrots, Swedes and turnips in their box or in their net. It is more natural for them to rummage. It also encourages movement. Sheryl Pochin
  • Make a haybox for horses on permanent turnout – the mesh lowers as the hay is eaten, they can’t argue too much as there’s a box in the way, decreases waste as they can’t trample in it/pee in it and helps physically as they are stretching over the side of the box to eat the hay. Filly Mare
  • If your horse is stood in a bit longer than normal, or has reduced turnout, try a vitamunch to keep them occupied, which is not only high in fibre, but is also low in sugar and provides them with 50% of their recommended daily vitamin and minerals!

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Watering:

  • Put a plastic football in your water trough as it stops the water freezing as it moves about. Karen Evans
  • Put hot water in the buckets for horses on 24/7 turnout – encourages them to drink and takes longer to freeze over. Filly Mare
  • Keep a small hammer and a collinder handy. When you smash the ice on the trough scoops some out to stop it re freezing and save your fingers. Angela Jones-Moore
  • Salt water bottles in troughs. Carol Potter
  • Preparation is key! Always have waters topped up and have water containers for icy days pre-filled!!! Melanie Dolittle Day

Mucking Out

  • If you have storage space, order a pallet of bedding at the end of November so you have plenty to last through the winter months and saves having to try and do a mad dash through traffic to get to feed store when you inevitably run out mid week. Angela Hibbens
  • After mucking out in the mornings I leave the beds up, so much easier and quicker just to sweep out in the evenings and pop the bed back down. Rachel Lansdown
  • I muck my boy out as at the time being, he is on straw. I will then make sure he has a nice thick bed which then helps me for the next few days as his easier to clean out and will only need a little bedding put down every other day. Amy Louise

Time Saving:

  • If you bandage your horse, or would bandage your horse if you had more time, Equi-Chaps Stable chaps are a great time-saving alternative. They’re also good at helping the legs to dry.
  • While it might be nice to wrap your horse up in his nice, cosy stable rugs, sometimes leaving their turnout rug on will actually save you time, as well as keep them warm and the horses body heat will allow the rug to dry if it’s come in a bit wet!
  • I personally use half a day holiday to have 2 long lunch breaks most weeks over the dark nights so I can ride in daylight making the evening routine a lot quicker and horse happier he has been ridden. Angela Hibbens
  • Jog doing chores to keep warm and be more efficient. My children time me to poo pick (should be the other way around) – it makes for faster work! Angela Jones-Moore 
  • If your horse is tied up while you’re mucking out or making your haynets or other yard jobs, pop your Equilibrium Therapy Massage Pad on to kill two birds with one stone!

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Warmth & Safety

  • Yaktrax are essential footwear for icy tracks. Filly Mare
  • Wear sallopettes to keep warm. Julie Seeley
  • Use hand warmers in the sole of your boots keep your tootsies warm and cozy. Karen Evans
  • For extra horse warmth, adding the Equilibrium Therapy Magnetic Back & Quarters Pad as one of your horses ‘overnight layers’ not only gives the benefit from the magnets themselves, but also extra warmth due to the heat insulating structure of the magnets.
  • Magnetic Chaps or Stable Chaps provide a great way of adding a bit of warmth to cold legs that may fill overnight or stiff joints.

PLUS some other useful comments:

  • Move somewhere warm! Tammy Opperman 
  • That fluffy space between your horse’s buttcheeks = nature’s hand warmer. Megan Henley 
  • Put your horses into full board for the winter and then go into hibernation. Lauren Fritsch
  • Dark chocolate in your porridge! Diane Thomas
  • Never stand on the rug when you’re trying to throw it over your horse! Louise Graham