Winter Horse Care Guide

Winter is without doubt the most difficult time of the year to be caring for horses, but it does have its enjoyable moments too. There's nothing quite like tucking your horse into his stable for the night and listening to him contendly munching. Careful and correct management of our horses will keep them happy and healthy throughout the winter months, ready to crack on again in spring. Here are some useful tips and advice for winter horse care.

Winter Care Checklist

With so much to do in the winter it feels like you're on a constant treadmill. Our care checklist will give you some key focal points, making sure you have the essentials covered.

  • Health checks:
    Weigh and condition score your horse - it's common for horses to lose weight through winter, so this gives you a baseline to check against
    Keep an eye on the hooves: wet conditions increase the chance of you seeing thrush and abscesses, as well as challenging the structure of the hooves. Lost shoes are more common in winter.
    Be mindful of your horse's breathing and airways if he's stabled more
    If your horse is stabled for longer, you may find bandaging the legs or using therapeutic boots helpful to prevent stiffness and the legs from filling.

  • Evaluate nutrition:
    Nutritional needs will be different through winter when hay/haylage is the core component of the diet - supplement accordingly
    Remember to feed for work done - this will ensure your horse is getting enough feed while keeping a lid on any additional energy!

  • Think about seasonal conditions:
    Be mindful of the temperature - it's human nature to want to keep our horse warm and protected from the elements but they might not need a rug that's quite so thick.

  • Skin and coat care:
    Wet weather, mud and the wet-dry cycle is not good for the skin and coat - protect your horse as much as you can

  • Field management:
    Yards will often allocate "trash" paddocks for winter use
  • Routine changes:
    Unfortunately, a lot of us will need to keep our horses stabled for long periods during the winter - make sure it's built up gradually to prevent stress and colic
    It's important to think of boredom-busting ways to keep our horses occupied.
    The weather may put a halt to riding but we still need to keep our horses moving, whether that is with turnout, lunging or a horse walker (if you're fortunate enough to have one!)