The most wonderful time of year is nearly upon us – Christmas! We want to make sure your horse enjoys it as much as you, we have compiled some tips to ensure a happy and healthy horse this Christmas.
It is winter after all so keep an eye on the weather and react accordingly. Regularly check your horse’s water supply both inside and out. Check for frozen pipes in stables and make sure you break and remove any ice in outdoor water troughs.
In winter, your horse will need more roughage both for nutritional purposes as well as to keep warm. Therefore, it is a good idea to feed more forage in colder weather but be aware that with increased forage intake, horses tend to drink more water. so it is even more important that your horse has access to clean, fresh water throughout winter.
We know this is hard but try not to lie-in too late on Christmas morning – your horse has his routine and is a creature of habit, so a late breakfast isn’t the best way to start the morning. The same can be applied for dinnertime; we appreciate that can be hard with festive traditions and Christmas dinner however a hungry and upset horse is not going to be a healthy and happy horse.
Exercise is still very important and Christmas Day is no exception. Make sure your horse gets out of his stable to stretch his legs. How you choose to do this is entirely dependant on yourself; a Christmas hack, time in the field or some stretching on the horse walker – the choice is yours.
You may want to share the Christmas spirit with your horse by giving him/her some treats. Steer clear of chocolate, sugary sweets and other foods that your horse would not be accustomed to as they would upset the digestive system and could cause unwanted health issues. There is a range of horse friendly treats available in your local tack shop or give him/her some carrots or apples – in moderation of course!
The Christmas season brings a change in routine for many people with more time at home due to office closure or less time as home due to family commitments. You should adjust your horse’s routine to reflect this, gradually inducing changes to avoid any upsets. If you are going to be away more, adjust your horse’s feed and exercise regime accordingly. The same can be said if you are going to be at home more – be mindful if your horse’s fitness levels, gradually build up the exercise regime when you have more time on your hands so your horse has time to acclimatise to the new schedule.
Finally, make the most of Christmas with your horse; it is the most wonderful time of the year after all!