With the Indian summer slipping away, it is starting to feel like autumn is over for another year. On top of this the clocks go back at the end of this week, so shorter days and the reality of winter is upon us. With this in mind, the KBIS sponsored riders and their teams have pulled together to offer their best survival tips for you and your horse this winter.
Para dressage rider Charlotte Cundall is well versed in all things winter survival. Read her top tips and great product ideas below:
1. Feed accordingly– When winter arrives, dark nights start to draw in quickly, the frost stays in the ground for much longer and sometimes our horses are confined to their stables for more hours than they (or we) would like them to be! Make sure that you alter your feeding levels depending on the amount of work your horses are doing – for many reasons but mainly as they will be VERY fresh when you do get on after a few days off!
2. Don’t over rug – everyone hates it when their horse’s mane gets rubbed out, I’ve tried everything and my best tip? Try and avoid neck rugs! We all like our horses to be nice and snug but someone reminded me last year when I was having a ‘mane crisis’ that they didn’t have this problem when only blankets and top jute rugs were used! When were rugs with neck rugs introduced anyway? I am not saying don’t use neck rugs, but just make sure they are not on 100% of the time.
3. Thin waterproof gloves – Nobody likes to be cold but sadly this comes hand in hand with winter. When working on the yard, mucking out in the rain, scrubbing water buckets, picking muddy feed out etc. I would lose count of the amount of soggy, wet, muddy gloves I would go through in a day. Discovering these thin, waterproof from Horse Health has revolutionised my routine. No more wet hands- an absolute MUST for the winter months!
4. Heated Rail – For those of us that don’t have a nice warm and dry heated rug room there is a never-ending pile of wet brushing boots, numnahs, towels and girths. We wash the mud off, we hang them up, and then they seem to stay wet for a seriously unreasonable amount of time. The answer? A heated airing rail – I spotted them in Lakeland the other day and they are a lifesaver.
5. If all else fails – Borrow a friend’s indoor school! On the days when it is just too windy, too wet or too frozen, beg steal and borrow the use of a nice sheltered indoor school!
KBIS event rider Georgie Strang agrees with Charlotte that an indoor school can be a total lifesaver during the winter. However, we all know that this isn’t always an option, so find out Georgie’s one absolute wardrobe essential when facing the elements:
Georgie’s head girl Jess Harper is well practised at executing perfect clips for the Team GS string. Check out her step by step guide to clipping below:
1. Start by giving them a really good brush and making sure their coat is as clean as possible. I find Exclusive Brushes brilliant for this.
2. Be prepared. I would make sure well in advance that I have at least two pairs of sharpened clipper blades that are ready to go. I would also make sure that my clippers have been serviced and checked.
3. If your clippers are wired, make sure that you have an extension cable so that you are able to reach every part of the horse.
4. Good lighting is essential. I tend to avoid clipping later in the day when you start losing daylight.
5. Have a clear image of the clip you are giving. Chalk is really handy to make sure you are getting the correct lines.
6. If your horse is sensitive, especially around their head, I find men’s hair clippers brilliant. They are much quieter and easier to use for the finer details.
Dependant on your horse, it is important to think through how to keep them warm and then cool them off effectively whilst exercising this winter. Hear 2018 Young Rider Team Gold Medallist Will Fletcher’s advice on how he does this with his clipped competition horses:
Team Fletcher’s Head girl of 10 years Stacey Greenall knows all about the importance of staying warm on the yard, here’s how she does it:
We hope the above advice has given you some helpful hints for you and your horse to make the most of the winter. Got winter top tips of your own? We would love to hear them, contact
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