Well it’s a New Year! So, do you fellow equestrians have that ‘New Year’ motivational Buzz?
No matter whether you and your horse are happy hackers or affiliated eventers – are you suffering from the post-Christmas blues in one way or another?
Here at easibed HQ we are looking forward to welcoming the transition from winter to spring, are you all eager to get back in the saddle and start riding again?
With many of us trying the ‘New Year Detox’, trying to lose that Christmas spread, aiming to drink more water and improving our fitness, it is important not to forget to consider our horses fitness and health.
With many riders struggling to fit in riding time over the festive period and with the wet ground conditions, it may be worthwhile checking that our equine friends are ready to go as well!
- Feed – Does your horse’s feed need adjusting to address their present body condition (too fat or too thin?), this includes your horse’s nutritional requirements to support the increased workload.
- Teeth – Have your horse’s teeth been checked within the last 12 months? Teeth problems can be the cause of poor condition and behavioural problems as the horse attempts to alleviate pain.
- Farrier – Hoof care is an important part of keeping your horse sound and comfortable. Have you horses feet been trimmed? – It is recommended that your horse’s feet are trimmed every 6 weeks even if they have shoes on.
- Back – Have you had your horses back checked? It is advisable to have your horses back checked routinely to try and prevent issues that may affect the way your horse is working and ultimately preventing your horse from potential discomfort and any further unnecessary time off work.
- Vaccinations – Is your horse up to date with vaccinations?
Equine Influenza – boosters are still recommended every 6 months and if competing this may be mandatory with some organisations/events. Tetanus – boosters are recommended every 24 months. See www.bhs.org.uk for further information regarding vaccines.
- Tack – Tack is an essential piece of kit for both horse and rider. You should check that your tack fits correctly so your horse can perform to its best ability without any discomfort, especially as their body condition can change throughout the seasons. Also, you need to check your tack is safe to use, check the stitching on you bridle and saddle (especially those girth straps) regularly.
- Exercise – Bringing your horse back into work may need to be gradual depending on the horse and how much time off they have had. Start by short training sessions, including hacking and gradually increase time and difficulty of work. Always alternate with rest periods. Keep it interesting for both you and your horse, look at schooling/training exercise’s online which can give you plenty of ideas to keep you and you horse motivated whilst the dark nights are still with us. Set yourself goals and plan what you would like to do with your horse, use your riding time efficiently.
- Dates – Let’s get planning. Get dates into your diary for competitions, clinics (dressage, gymnastic pole work, cavaletti, show jumping, arena eventing and grid work clinics are just to name a few) lessons, hacking with friends and even dates for camp!
However, with all this said remember, make a goal for you and your horse, you can do as much or a little as you please but ultimately have fun with your equine friend.