Christmas shopping for your horse
First and foremost it’s time to start thinking about those extra special gifts for your horse. How about a shiny new head collar, rug, boots or a big bag of our SPILLERS horse treats. If you’re feeling really Christmassy some Santa inspired attire might go down well.
Christmas prep for the yard
Decorating your horse's stable is a must, although there is a risk of some becoming too competitive (keeping up with the Jones'.) We would discourage the use of singing snowmen and flashy lights for those extra spooky characters! Also for those who may struggle to tell the difference between their feed bucket and their new festive features, we suggest placing tinsel and baubles well out of harms way! If you're organised, you may also want to consider Christmas cards for others on the yard signed off by you AND your horse of course.
Christmas Day Ride
Tradition calls for a group Christmas Day ride. Tinselled tack, reindeer antlers, glittery hoof polish are all necessary for both you and your horse to make sure you look as ridiculous as possible! Try not to get too brave on this one though…nobody needs the embarrassment of falling off whilst dressed as Santa’s Elf, especially if your horse takes themselves home and you have the walk of shame back on your own…be prepared for some funny looks from dog walkers!
Home for dinner
This is the one day of the year you really should make the effort to get home at a reasonable time after morning duties. If you are lucky enough to have your horse out at this time of year, perhaps try to arrange for the yard owner/manager to bring them in for you, or someone close by, so that you don’t have to worry in the middle of your Christmas lunch!
If it is easier for your horse to be in for the day, consider leaving them with the radio on so that they can enjoy some Christmas tunes and perhaps keep them amused with a carrot hunt round their stable or hanging swede for them to nibble during the afternoon. Getting as many jobs done in the morning will help speed things up for the night shift so that you can get back home for cheese, mince pies and port!
Boxing day blues
In contrast to the magic of Christmas morning, getting up for the horses on boxing day can be a pretty gruesome task as turkey, cheese and alcohol hangovers loom. Take comfort knowing that just about everyone at the yard that morning will be feeling as rough as you. We would suggest riding only involves a gentle plod round the block unless of course you have committed to a day out hunting, in which case getting on the port and sausage rolls as soon as possible is probably best!
With gastric ulcers thought to affect approximately 60% of competition horses (and up to 50% of leisure horses), it’s no surprise that we receive lots of questions about gastric ulcers via our Care-Line.
Cutting calories is essential for weight loss but this shouldn’t come at the expense of providing a balanced diet. Lysine is an essential amino acid and is one of several nutrients that may be deficient in a calorie restricted diet.
Whilst the stereotypical ex-racehorse might be prone to excitability, have poor feet and struggle to maintain weight that’s certainly not the case for all thoroughbreds. Indeed, once settled into their new workloads and routines, many can be incredibly good-doers!
With laminitis season upon us what better time to brush up on your knowledge of the potential causes, risk factors and management advice?
Being able to spot the signs of laminitis early maximises your horse’s chance of recovery. It pays to be vigilant, especially as subtle signs such as slight reluctance to turn or shortening of stride can be easily missed.