Exercising your horse in the winter
As horrible as it is to admit, winter is approaching faster than we’d like. A horse should be exercised every day, and winter is no exception to this rule. How, though, can you ensure exercising your horse in the winter is a safe and happy experience for both you and your horse.
Firstly, don’t forget to wrap you and your horse up warm! If it’s a cold day, but the sun is shining, there’s a chance you’ll get warm. You’ll need to be able to remove layers of clothing easily. Attach a small bag to the saddle to store your clothing until you need them. Make sure it doesn’t get so heavy as to weigh your horse down.
Horses are in their natural habitat outside, so during the winter, they do tend to grow a thicker coat. This extra coating does keep horses warm outside, but it also means they are more likely to sweat when exercising your horse. Many horse owners clip their horses for winter months to avoid this.
Horses that spend a lot of time exercising or being outdoors may require extra attention to their hoofs. There can easily be a build-up of snow and ice in the horse’s hooves, causing them to walk unevenly or even slip and fall. If you’ve decided against exercising your horse, you might choose for your horse to go barefoot.
The cold weather can mean your horse riding tack, saddles and other riding equipment can be ruined. It’s important to check all of your equipment before exercising your horse in the winter. The winter moisture, as well as freezing and thawing again and again can harm the leather and metal components of your tack. Clean and condition your equipment as regularly as you can. If your tack is well maintained, it is less likely to become ruined or broken.
Last but not last, remember that before exercising your horse in the winter, you should check their physical condition. There’s no point working your horse if they’re not physically able to carry out the same tasks they would in warmer months, as you risk harming the equine. A long walk or jog should do them well if they are physically unable to do anymore. You can also allow your horse to roam free in the fields to exercise them as well this winter.