Category Archives: Horse Care Tips
If you’re especially eager to advance your riding skills or reach your goals quicker, and you have the time, consider riding more than one lesson horse. Some students ride three or four horses a day, and of course they progress much faster. In some cases you maybe able to ride privately stabled horses that need exercising for their owners. Most owners though will only allow this exclusively for the more advanced riders and on the recommendation of your instructor.
These riders are perfectly prepared to be able to go a show and catch-ride an unfamiliar horse. Each horse that you ride will bring something different to the table for you as they all have different personalities and have different skill levels and you will have to adjust your riding skills to each individual horse.
Another way to advance, once you’ve mastered the basics, is to volunteer to ride a greener, less experienced horse. Often riding schools will have newer horses that aren’t yet ready for the school horse program. More advanced riders can work with these horses, seasoning them until they are ready to become regular lesson horses.
When the weather turns cold and wintery it is very easy for horse owners to want to keep their horses warm, dry and happy. When we walk outside and get a blast of icy cold air in our face our first reaction is to put on a coat and rug up to keep warm. We tend to want to do this with our horses as well. It’s very easy to compare our own winter comfort level to that of their horse and we tend to over rug them. Heat actually stresses a horse out more than cold conditions.
Depending on the weather conditions and what you use your horse for should determine if you rug him or not. If you are going to keep your horse in work through the winter months then it is best to rug him in a good quality waterproof turnout blanket even if he has access to shelter.
Some horses just naturally feel the cold and need to be rugged for their own comfort and look for them when it starts to turn cold. I have had a few like that who love their blankets and I have owned others who have made it a sport to see how quickly they can remove them!
After hard exercise even in the most chilliest of weather your horse is going to raise a sweat and get hot if his coat is allowed to get too thick. It’s very important that the horse be dried thoroughly after exercise and that the hair is brushed so that it stands up. This prevents the sweat from causing a chill, which can lead to illness. Would you like to be turned out into cold wintery conditions while still damp?
By brushing your horses hair up it provides insulation against the cold. Fluffy hair traps air and keeps the horse warm; hair plastered down flat or wet from rainy conditions lets body heat escape and that’s when horses get cold and miserable. A well exercised horse needs to be cooled out thoroughly then brushed to stand the hair up again before turning them back out.
Many riders once they have had a ton of lessons and feel confident around horses want to move to the next step of horse ownership. This is a big step and another option over buying a horse is to lease a horse.
I was going to buy my first horse and after searching found Shiloh and had him on a month trial but after he nearly putting me in hospital after the first week (even my riding instructor wouldn’t get on him) she found me a great pony to lease. Ben was a 13.1 hh cremello, part Welsh pony and I knew this pony from local competitions and was over the moon to be able to have such a great opportunity. His current owner had outgrown him and she couldn’t bear to sell him.
Leasing a horse is a great way to ‘trial’ horse ownership and if you are ready for it without the long term commitment of purchasing a horse. If you find you don’t have the time, financial resources or you just change your mind the horse can be returned back to his owners at the end of the lease.
So many winter accidents (both 2 and 4 legged) are avoidable and doesn’t take much planning or time to make it safer all round.
If you live in an area where it freezes make sure you check regularly for holes, hollows or just where horses stand. Any dips should be leveled out or filled in so that any rain or water that settles doesn’t turn to ice making it a slippery hazard.
During these cold months, you may want to consider moving your horse to a less hazardous place. Even when loading your horses or horses into their horse trailers, you’ll want to ensure that there isn’t any ice or slippery paths.
A horse can seriously hurt itself if it slips and then tries to get up on the slippery surface. If the ice doesn’t break then a horse runs the risk of thrashing around trying to regain his footing and could quite easily break a leg. If the ice does break it can have the same effect as glass and cause some serious deep cuts.
Granular salt can help roughen up slippery surfaces but do so sparingly or only in extreme circumstances as it is caustic and irritating to their hooves and legs and winter and all its elements all ready put enough stress on them. Clean and dress their feet daily to keep them in good condition, it only takes a few minutes to do.