Thursday 13th September, 2018
Autumn is right around the corner, and with it comes the cooler temperatures and darker nights. You may have already noticed that the evenings are drawing in rapidly. Before we know it, we will be racing the sunset after work to get to the yard in daylight hours. Fortunately. Most horses are pretty tolerant of seasonal changes, but there are a still few things that we need to consider over the coming months. Read our checklist to make sure you and your horse are ready for Autumn.
Your horse may benefit from being stabled during the long winter nights, so it is vital that you perform these stable checks. When examining the stable, lookout for signs of damage, such as broken kickboards, broken panels, bowed doors and unsecured hinges. These could all pose a significant threat to your horse’s safety and security.
Riding your horse may prove tricky during the week if you can’t get to the yard before dusk. Unless you are hunting or competing in cross-country, you are going to reduce your riding during the week at least. If possible, try to change your working hours to enable you to fit in a ride before sunset. Many professional yards provide floodlit facilities such as a ménage, so this could really help keep you both on track exercise-wise.
With regards to diet, you will need to add in extra energy in the form of cool mix and molasses if competing. Supplements such as cod liver oil and glucosamine can help support the joints and musculoskeletal system. These are particularly beneficial in elderly equines who may struggle with stiffness during the damp weather, alongside stabling in warm, dry internal stables at night.
Your horse won’t need the extra layers right now, but this is the time to take a look at rugs. Check for rips or tears that need repairing, and make sure turnout rugs are waterproofed ready for the winter season. The last thing you need is to be caught short with a damaged rug when the wetter weather sets in. On the flip side, be careful not to ‘over-rug’ too early as hot horses can quickly become dehydrated and distressed.
A late afternoon hack can quickly become evening, so make a habit out of wearing hi-vis now. Country roads are especially dangerous in the dark so its vital that you are seen at a distance. From bandanas to bandages, and everything in-between, you can get horse hi-viz and LEDs that will keep you safe this season. In addition, always ride out in pairs for safety during the Autumn/Winter months, and never venture out after dark.