I’ve been pretending that it’s not winter for about 2 weeks now, but the signs are here: my hands are freezing cold and so are my feet, my layers have doubled, it’s dark ridiculously early, and I now swim in mud whenever I have the audacity to take my horse to the field… So I thought I’d stop a moment to discuss how you can keep your horse in good condition during the cold months ahead!
1. Keep your horse moving
I know it’s super basic, but here me out. Some of us don’t have all year turnout, unfortunately. For those of you who have that option, I envy you so much you have no idea, because your horse gets to keep moving nicely all year round and so keeps an underlying fitness (minimal for some, but here nonetheless). For those of you that don’t have that luxury, try to pop your horse in the school for a roll and a play around (if it’s safe of course), go for a walk with your horse, basically try to keep your horse moving as much as possible. Immobility is the enemy of healthy tissue!
2. Bring stretches into your routine
A few simple stretches can help keep the connective tissue of your horse mobile and supple. You can find loads of videos on youtube about it, or ask your practitioner what sort of stretching you can do for your horse, as they will know what’s best for them!
3. Do some fine tuning training work
I also call it “yoga for horses”. Basically the idea is to slow everything down and focus on your horse’s core strength and suppleness. And because you can do that in the walk, you can do it easily in a muddy school. The type of exercises I have in mind are things like bending, haunches in, shoulders in and so on. Those movements are amazing in the walk because they both stretch and engage the body. Do that for 15/20 minutes a day and you will see a big difference within a few weeks. Just like yourself and doing yoga regularly 😀 And if you don’t know how to do those moves, well, good time to take a lesson too!
4. Get your bodyworker out, of course!
Last but not least, get your bodyworker to come during winter, so they can help you maintain optimum movement and balance of your horse, as well as help preventing things going wrong once you start riding more in the Spring! It’s also a good time to ask your bodyworker to focus on things that your horse might have struggled with during the warm season, so that things don’t keep piling up year after year! Remember that a lot of problems can be avoided if taken care of in time.
That’s all I have to share for now, I’ll most likely have more to chat about at some point during the winter and will write more then 🙂 In the meantime, keep warm, keep your horse fit and happy, and if you would like to book an appointment just get in touch!