Winter at the moment feels like it is never going away. With the incessant rain and wind, I constantly feel as if I have been dragged through a hedge backward after I have been on the yard!
Hard work it may be, but there are some things I love about caring for my horses in winter. So Instead of thinking about how difficult it is looking after your horses during the hardest season, here at Learn2horse we want to celebrate winter. Read on for our guide on aspects of winter to embrace!
1. Waking up on a cold, crisp and sunny winter’s morning – heading off to the yard, to see your horse’s breath misting in the air in front of them. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and the grass and trees glint white in the brave sun
2. A clipped and rugged horse – easy to keep clean, and his back is always dry when you want to put a saddle on!
3. Spending more time with your horse – during the long summer days your horse is probably turned out for the majority of the time and his care is less intensive. In winter, he needs you more. Although for some the winter chores of changing rugs, turning out and bringing add time to the day, embrace them as an opportunity to bond more with your horse
4. A free gym work out – there is no doubt winter is labour intensive if your horse is stabled. However, instead of moaning about mucking out, and emptying the wheelbarrow, filling up hay-nets and cleaning water buckets, see them as your own personal free work out. Think about the calories you are burning and you will practically run to the yard to get started!
5. That ride on Christmas Day – magical! (sorry for mentioning the C- word; it just slipped out!). The dinner is in the oven, it’s a clear sunny day (hopefully) and everyone you meet stops for a chat and wishes you well. Lights twinkle in all the houses you pass, and your horse really does like wearing his Ruldolph antlers!
6. For those who hunt – it’s the best time of all. Out all day with your horse and your mates, exploring new countryside, enjoying a tipple of port, going home tired and happy – what more could you want?
7. Snow! It brings out the kid in us, and the first time you turn out your horses in a pure white field is a day to remember. Watching them snort and prance, and trot up and down like wannabe Arabs, their eyes alive and alight with curiosity and excitement is something not to be missed. Ok, yes we know after three weeks it can be a little tiresome but that first fairy-tale day is totally magical
8. Making the most of your time with your horses in winter – enjoying long hacks with friends at the weekends, while wrapping up warm and having fun
9. Olympia – the best show of all!
10. Finishing off – coming in after putting the horses to bed, opening a bottle of wine, drawing the curtains, sitting by the fire and feeling totally satisfied with yourself, knowing your horses are warm and dry. Your work is complete.
Although I know that winter for many is a season you look forward to saying goodbye to, by staying positive and focusing on the many great aspects of winter, it can be a season to embrace. What top tips do you have for getting the best out of your horses in winter – I would love to hear them!
Image by Walter Baxter