H&H canvassed professional riders and amateur horse owners for their useful tips on how to enjoy a stree-free winter with your horse. Here are their suggestions.

“Duvets offer my horses warmth without weight. They’re easy to clean and don’t harbour parasites. We use king-size duvets over a summer sheet, pulling them up the neck and crossing the ends over in front of the chest. The top rug is put on, fastened and pulled back slightly to keep the duvet firmly in place.”

    Tim Stockdale, international show jumper

“I find that wet turnout rugs (wet on the outside, not the inside) dry best if they’re left on the horse in the stable. This only really applies to modern, breathable, well-fitting rugs. If they’re taken off when wet, any damp seems to seep to the inside. Because the rug lining is dry, the horse stays snug and warm and it saves on space, too.”

    Sue Frank, livery yard owner, Worcestershire

“If your horse feels the cold in winter, bandage his legs at night. We tend to remember to put on warm rugs, but often overlook the big difference that bandages can make when it’s chilly.”

    Julian Marczak, Suzanne’s Riding School, Middlesex

“If you have a kettle in your tack room, keep some Pot Noodles or other warming instant snacks to hand, in case you are delayed and have to stay around longer than anticipated.”

    Anne Chiverton, Reading, Berkshire

“Before clipping, make sure the horse’s coat is clean, well-brushed and not matted, as this will blunt the clipper blades very quickly.”

    Lynn Russell, top show rider and producer

“Horses can be a bit sharper in winter and a lunge session is an effective way of working your horse when time is short, plus it adds variety to his programme. Save longer hacks for the weekends.”

    Sam Waters BHSII, Gloucestershire

“Spread old bedding in field gateways when the ground starts to churn up – it will absorb some of the wet and stop the ground getting muddy. I’ve found that shavings work best.”

    Robyn Black, Burnham, Buckinghamshire

“I’ve invested in a storage heater for my tack room. It’s cheap to run and keeps everything aired. If I put a wet rug out to dry in the evening, it’s always as dry as a bone in the morning. My tack room is a great place to retreat to when the whether is cold, wet and miserable.”

    Helen Trivett, Atherstone, Warwickshire

Get more useful winter tips from H&H forum members