Like every horse owner (and possibly every other person in the UK!) I am now rather fed up with the weather. With the ice and snow comes many a worry about our four legged friends. Although we are constantly moaning (or is that just me!) the horses seem comparatively unbothered by all the snow and ice. My boy seems quite happy with his lack of exercise, high volumes of hay and a stretch of the legs every day…an easy life for them, but not so much for us!
This got me thinking about whether or not there were any plus points to all this freezing weather. Well it’s a lot of mucking out in the cold which means I can shiver off a few extra calories. But the lack of riding means I am losing out on building up those core muscles which are really needed for re-schooling my youngster. However as a bit of a surprise my other half bought me one of these horse riding exercise machines. Now I can strengthen my core whilst inside in the warm, watching Corrie (much to his amusement). Now they are not a cheap exercise option but they are a damn site cheaper than keeping a real horse at the moment.
My horse if shod so riding in the ice and snow isn’t an option, or a risk I am willing to take. I have tried lining the souls of his hooves with no end of Vaseline or hoof oil but the ice still packs in and I’d rather he had a few days off and felt a bit fresh on soft ground, than run the risk of injury on slippery surfaces- this could leave me with a much worse problem. However he happily goes out in the field every day and appears to only move from the hay pile to the water, with perhaps a roll in the snow for good measure. The lack of riding has given me time to do other jobs, my tack has never looked so clean and in fact neither has my house! Just because you can’t ride it doesn’t mean that you can’t spend time bonding with your horse, grooming him in the warmth of the stable and doing all those jobs such as pulling manes and neatening up feathers. Then he will be looking lovely once you can get back on board. Just make sure you have a hot drink to keep you warm, or warm you hand under your horses rug every few minutes as this always feels like a lovely hot water bottle to me.
I don’t know about you but when the sun is out I can spend all day and evening at my yard so this period of cold weather has given me a chance to spend time with the other important people (and animals) in my life. As you can see from the photo below, my lovely dog Lexi loves nothing more than a walk in the snow, swiftly followed by a sleep on hot water bottle I might add. It’s nice to still get out in the fresh air and if you wrap up with layers and keep walking then you do stay warm- just don’t forget your gloves!
The weather has also given me a chance to read a few horsey books that I have had about the house for a while. This includes two books from the Kelly Marks series- Perfect Confidence and Perfect Partners, as well as Ride with your Mind by Mary Wanless. I would highly recommend these books to help build strong foundations for your riding and relationship with your horse.
Despite all this of course I am longing for the sunshine… I think we would all feel a little happier if we were a little warmer and we were actually able to turn the heating off in our houses, put the washing out the dry and actually sponge down our horses after riding them! So I am keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t be too long before we are spending no end of money on fly spray, sweating during boiling hot during schooling sessions and gasping for a drink after a long hot hack.
Keep thinking warm thoughts and soon it will be summer!
The sand school has turned into the snow school...
Another cold and frosty morning...