1, Think of winter as a time to prepare for next year, particularly if you are planning to compete. Expand your knowledge by watching training videos during the long dark evenings and attend lecture demonstrations when you can.
2, Devise a schooling plan to take you through the winter months and set yourself training goals to stay motivated
3, Remember there is no such thing as bad weather, only a bad choice of clothes. Be prepared and invest in suitable warm, waterproof clothing to stave off the chill
4, How many horseowners invest in expensive barrier creams for their horses’ legs but forget about their own skin? Use plenty of moisturiser to protect yourself against damage from the elements
5, If it snows, grease the inside of your horse’s hooves with Vaseline to prevent balling
6, Use towels to rub down your horse when he returns sweaty from a ride and don’t let him stand without a rug. Invest in a breathable cooler or wicking rug to dry him off while maintaining warmth
7, Soak hay in a shed or barn so it doesn’t freeze and wrap towels or feed sacks round pipes to protect them from frost
8, Break the ice on water troughs regularly or leave a football in the water to prevent it from icing over
9, Your barns and buildings may be prone to seasonal damage, so check gutters for blockages and leaks. Also check pipe insulation and electrics
10, Use the winter as time to strengthen your relationship with your horse on the ground through massage and work in hand as well as brushing up on your weakest skills such as bandaging or plaiting
- For more advice on how to make the most of your winter see the November issue of HORSE magazine. To purchase a back issue (tel: 020 8532 3628).