Making Winter less frightful and more delightful
The weather outside is frightful, but the prospect of another winter with your horses certainly doesn’t need to be. The best defensive tactic against cold-spell woes? A robust offensive strategy – that is to say, a great plan of action to ensure your horse is healthy and happy, no matter what the forecast throws your way.
As horse owners, many of us are prone to give into the temptation of a cosy stable when the weather turns. After all, there’s nothing nicer than a duvet day, a fireplace, and a Netflix deep-dive while a storm rages outside, right? But what feels like a treat for you might not be quite so sweet for your horse. An increase in stabled time in the winter ups his risk factor for several issues, including upper respiratory irritation from a lack of suitable ventilation, joint stiffness from reduced time spent on the move, and stereotypic behaviours as the result of limited stimulation.
Instead of battening down the hatches and keeping your horses well away from the weather, you’re much better off increasing their natural defences and giving them the tools to tackle winter head-on. Dealing with variable temperatures is likely one of your foremost worries, but horses are remarkably well-equipped for self-regulating, a handy skill that’s maximised when they can move around to generate heat. While clipping obviously strips your horse of some of his natural defences, a suitable wardrobe means that he can handle the worst of the British weather. Pair this with a robust field shelter – or a natural shelter, such as a copse of trees or a thick hedge – and plenty of forage, and you may well find he’s a lot happier out in the elements.
Of course, how well-equipped your horse is to handle winter’s weather depends largely on his overall health. It’s not at all uncommon to find that management concerns – however minor – are exacerbated by a sudden dip in temperatures, with assorted stiffness and viruses increasingly common. That makes the advent of winter the best time to schedule in an equine MOT, ensuring he’s sound, healthy, and that his diet is providing a broad spectrum of essential nutrients. It’s important to remember, too, that your grazing will provide fewer of these nutrients, and so it can be helpful to add a supplement that supports his immune system and anti-inflammatory process, while also ensuring he’s getting all the good stuff he needs.
Elite Equine’s Rosehip supplement is one such option. Jam-packed with the 100% natural and organic ingredient, the Rosa Canina plant, it’s a great option for horses who tend towards stiffness, lessened mobility, or competition horses who need additional support in the recovery process, such as hard-working event horses or hunters. It’s also full of micronutrients, which work to absorb excess free radicals in your horse’s system and help him feel – and look – his best. That’s one less worry for you, and one more super boost for your four-legged partner.