Caring for Your Horse in Unfavorable Weather: 4 Essential Tips

As we move deeper into winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the weather can be quite discouraging when it comes to spending time with your horse. However, it remains just as important! Here are four things you can do to ensure your horse's well-being, along with some expert advice. 

1. Grooming is Bonding! 

While it's perfectly fine to give your horse time off in the paddock, it's still crucial to bring them in and reconnect. Horses naturally bond through grooming, so taking this time to brush them helps strengthen your relationship. 

It's also essential to bring your horse in to check and change their rugs regularly. Keeping the same rugs on for an extended period can cause rubs on their shoulders or withers, which can be painful. 

During this time of year, horses typically have thicker coats or may be clipped. For thicker-coated horses, we recommend: 

For clipped horses: 

Regular grooming helps prevent the buildup of dead skin or hair, which can lead to discomfort or skin problems. It also improves blood circulation and stimulates the skin's oil glands, enhancing natural thermoregulation and overall coat health. 

2. Mud Management 

If your horse is turned out in a particularly muddy paddock or yard, mud buildup can lead to fungal or bacterial infections, especially for more susceptible horses. 

To prevent these issues, ensure you keep areas such as their pasterns, around the fetlock joints, and their feet as clean as possible. Use our eco-friendly shampoo bar, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties, ideal for those hard-to-reach areas prone to mud fever around the horse’s pasterns. 

Mud buildup can also cause rocks, sticks, or other debris to get stuck in your horse’s feet, potentially causing abscesses, stone bruises, or other discomforts. Daily hoof picking with our durable copper bristle hoof pick efficiently removes mud and debris. 

3. Reinforce Your Horse’s Ground Manners 

Even if you can't ride, you can still work on improving your horse's obedience and patience on the ground. Establishing consistency on the ground will greatly benefit you when riding resumes. 

Activities to consider: 

  • Teaching your horse to respond to pressure by moving away, including backing up and moving sideways. 
  • Training your horse to position itself next to the mounting block and stand still when you mount. 
  • Teaching your horse to lower its head when pressure is applied to the halter or poll, which facilitates easier bridling. 

Treats can be effective incentives when teaching your horse new behaviors, such as carrots, sugar cubes, or treats from your local produce or saddlery store. 

4. Stretches to improve muscle tone – expert advice 

Qualified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, Ash Whitworth, cannot speak louder about the improvements that can be seen when doing stretches on the ground with your horse. 

“Stretches on the ground are a fabulous way to strengthen and supple your horse as well as checking areas in which the horse struggles to bend or flex especially when spelling over the colder months as they tend to lose muscle tone and become stiffer from lack of exercise. 

Stretches help maintain and even improve muscle tone when you can’t ride as often. There are huge benefits to stretching including mobilising joints, improving balance, flexibility and self-carriage. Carrots stretches as they are commonly referred to, can assist in bringing your horse's chin into various positions.

Some include:

  • To their chest
  • To their knees

  • To their girth 
  • To their fetlocks 
  • To their flank 

  • To their hind fetlock  

Each position should ideally be held for several seconds and repeated three to five times before moving on to the next one. As your horse gains strength and confidence, you’ll be able to push the stretches further. 

If you’re unsure, ask a professional advice."

If you wish to have your horse treated by Ash or you are after some more expert advice, contact her through her facebook page here.

More examples seen below:

By following these tips, you can ensure your horse remains healthy and content even during unfavorable weather conditions. Spending quality time with your horse is always beneficial, regardless of the season. Stay committed and enjoy the bonding experience! 


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