Over the winter, cold and damp weather (and the daily management that generally accompanies it) can mean that older horses and those with joint issues need additional help to stay comfortable and mobile.
- The cold temperatures make existing joint gripes feel worse
- Horses are moving less, due to decreased turnout and reduced exercise, which leads to additional stiffness
- Deep or slippery snow and mud are less than ideal ground conditions
How you can help….
- Daily exercise – regular, moderate exercise can really help to keep older horses mobile. If you can’t hack out due to bad weather or lack of daylight, use horse walkers, walking in hand, schools or artificial gallops to help keep your horse moving. This is even important for horses that are being turned out, as studies have shown that turned out horses are less active when the weather is cold and wet, playing and running less.
- Pad out stables – if horses are stabled, use rubber mats and deep bedding to help make concrete floors less cold and provide padding.
- Make sure they aren’t cold – the cold and wet weather of winter can result in less blood flow to the extremities and outer layers of muscle as the body ensures it maintains core temperature, leading to tension, so make sure that your horse is keeping warm! Ears are not a reliable indication of temperature – instead, check near the withers – if they feel cold, choose a thicker rug, or if they are a little damp, your horse may be too warm. You can also consider using an exercise blanket when riding to help warm and supple muscles.
- Take care when riding – exercising or turnout in deep snow or mud increases the chances of tendon injuries. If an area of a field is poached, fence it off if possible.
- Feed a Joint supplement – ExtraFlex HA with Rosehips, our top of the range joint supplement, provides your horse with joint health nutrients to enhance comfort and mobility. If your horse needs extra support, soothing Boswellia can be fed alongside other joint supplements to offer optimum flexibility.