At this time of year, the prospect of heading out to take care of the horses is far less appealing. Whilst it may provide the perfect antidote after all the festivities, the short, cold days make every task a little more onerous.
The reality is that your horse needs your time and attention as much as ever, so there is simply no excuse not to layer up and head out. The care they receive now will have a considerable impact on their health in the spring and summer. This is particularly important if you are competing in horse trials and other equestrian events.
Bramham International Horse Trials is one such event. Based up in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, the four-day event kicks off on 8 June. Although horses are the main focus of the event, visitors can also enjoy quad biking, Sedgeway trails and the Tailwagger Club Fun Dog Show. The long, warm days of June may seem ages away, but preparations through the winter are vital.
Winter Horse Care
Firstly it is important to ensure that your horse has access to water at all times. This means undertaking measures to ensure that their water supply doesn’t freeze over, no matter what the weather conditions. You may also need to alter their diet. Be aware that it takes a lot more energy to keep warm during the winter months, but also take into account the amount of exercise that you are giving your horse.
It might be chilly, but a horse still needs plenty of opportunity to be active and entertained, so make sure that you plan a variety of ways to keep them fit and stimulated.
The cold weather can affect a horse’s skin and hooves, so regular, thorough checks are important. Use tepid water to wash the skin and make sure it is carefully towel dried. This is particularly important on the legs in order to prevent mud fever. Applying sulphur powder to the legs has also been shown to be beneficial.
Although blankets can help to protect your horse against the harsh winter weather, there is also a risk of over-blanketing. A horse needs to be able to regulate their own temperature. If your horse is spending more time in the stables over winter, it is wise to use dust free hay.
If you have any concerns regarding the health of your horse, contact your local equine vet as soon as possible.
Tow Car Hire
If your plans involve moving your horse to new pastures for winter or transporting them to horse trials and other events in the spring and summer, you may be looking for reliable tow car hire. 4×4 Vehicle Hire provides tow car hire, so you just need to provide or borrow a horsebox.
Hiring a suitable vehicle for the day or weekend is typically a more affordable and practical solution than buying a suitable vehicle. If a tow car is needed in the Leeds area, have a look at our available vehicles on our Leeds page.
Towing a Horsebox in Winter
Before towing a horse box, you need to know the weight that you will be towing, then check that your driving license covers you for this weight.
Be aware that the combination of winter weather conditions and towing present a driving challenge. The main issue is that it will take your vehicle longer to respond to any action. For this reason, allow more time for your journey, reduce the speed at which you drive and allow more space between you and the vehicle in front.
Make sure that you have sufficient supplies in the vehicle to ensure that you and your horse can remain warm and comfortable, even if there are delays on the journey and you arrive later than expected. The main priority is to arrive safely at your destination.