Exercise is always a challenge during the winter. Just having a good place for horses to roll (snow, an indoor arena, a round pen, a soft paddock) can help. Rolling alleviates boredom, relieves tension, is a social behavior, and can stretch and align the muscles of a horse's back and hindquarters.
Having a track paddock can help also, along with re-thinking the way you feed; see Horses Get Winter Blues Too. Here are some more tips and resources:
For healthy footing and to help eliminate mud, picking up manure in the snow is a big step toward managing winter health issues for horses. Other ways to keep your horses' paddocks mud-free are to:
- Check that gutters and downspouts are working properly and are not clogged and draining water into your paddocks.
- Check the perimeter around paddocks to make sure that water is able to drain away from them.
- Add footing, such as gravel or mats, to areas that have high traffic and tend to be soggy and cause horses to stand in water, which can cause swelling and be harmful to their hooves.
- For more solutions for managing mud see: Horses for Clean Water Mud Solutions.
Keep emergency supplies on hand and be prepared for storms. Learn more at: Take Winter by Storm.
Ensure you have adequate lighting for doing chores, grooming horses, and to provide light for your equine professionals to work by - to help illuminate issues with your horses before they become problems.
If you are interested in taking our January online class, visit our store; this four week course includes pasture and paddock management, along with one-on-one time with Alayne so that you can get all of your questions on green horse keeping answered!
At Horses for Clean Water, we hope that 2017 will be the best it can be, for both you and your horses.