Winter Blog - Oct 21

Taking care of horses in Winter

By Dr Jim Rawlinson, BVMS MBA MRCVS


The weather has been kind where we are for the last few weeks, which means that I’m not having to deal with too much mud now, although that challenge will come soon! The horses are enjoying the late season grazing and it’s good to see them out for a lot of the time. But we are still keeping a close eye on weights and managing food rations. I don’t want them going into winter in too “good” a condition as they will be stabled overnight, and weather can interrupt exercise routines challenging weight management.

I’m paying extra care with grooming this month as we get ready for clipping. Hector in particular tends to get scurfy as his summer coat is coming out and winter growth starts. He’s due for a full body clip so time spent now will ensure he looks smart and shiny after clipping. I find daily sessions with the rubber curry are essential with occasional shampoo’s when warm enough suit him. It’s a shame he’s so grumpy when he’s having a bath.

The clocks going back is a clear signal that winters on the way. However, I try to limit the impact on the horse’s routine by making changes to feeding times etc gradually. I don’t like to think of them waiting an extra hour for their breakfast, so I move their “clock” back a bit each day to establish a new schedule that suits the winter months.

Fireworks are always a concern at this time of year and I’m having to take a little extra care this year. Hector and Henry have never really been bothered by noise and bangs, but this is my first November 5th with Wilfred and Yulia. They are both youngsters so I’m not sure how they will react if there are any displays close by.

As I’m new to the area the first thing I’m doing is checking local media for the dates and times of any nearby displays, and I’ll chat with the neighbours to find out their plans. I always find that keeping to their routine and not making a fuss myself is best, so they will be stabled as usual, and I’ll keep a discreet eye on them from a distance.

I haven’t had to use Calmers before and I’ll see how the youngsters get on this year, but it’s reassuring to know that Nettex has a range of calmers to suit most situations if needed.

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