As the weather conditions change, so do your horses’ routine, diet, and surroundings. Bidding goodbye to the icy climate to welcome the bounty of spring is a wonderful change, but could be tricky for horse owners. To prepare you and your string for the shift, here are some ways that you can do to manage your four-legged beasts to a happy transition to spring.
Clean the pen
First things first一you have to get down and dirty. Make sure that in welcoming spring, you also revamp your horses’ living quarters appropriate for the new climate conditions. Clean their buckets and water troughs, repair broken nooks and corners, and refresh their equipment.
Assess their health
From updating their vaccination to checking on their teeth, feet, and overall body hygiene and fitness, it’s important to begin by knowing how they are. After all, it’s been a long winter一and a check-up or a vet visit should be on your list of to-dos.
Slowly introduce grazing
Your string has been munching on dry hay and feed during winter, and adjusting to nutrient-rich grass should be a slow and steady process. Control their grazing by limiting their time outdoors – say, fifteen minutes on the first day and adding more time in the next days and weeks. This will help them acclimatize to their new diet. Don’t be afraid to throw in their usual winter meal into the mix for a well-balanced meal.
Supplements could help
Calmer supplements are nutritious and helpful in managing your horses during this seasonal transition. Avoid stressful situations by incorporating these additives into their feed. This will help calm them down and create focus and stabilize their attitude.
Get some exercise in
Months of inactivity (unless you’ve been doing snow polo during winter) may have put your horse in an idle condition. Reintroduce movement step by step to help them get used to a new routine. Take a small chunk of time to take them out for walks or trots in the beginning. Lengthen their exercise time until they have fully adjusted to a normal regime. You can also try lunging and long reining, which is beneficial for both horse and rider. Make sure to also check on their body as a whole to keep their condition in check.
Release their pent up energy
Assist them in shaking off energy accumulated from the long winter months through simple techniques that can help them release. Try free schooling your horses up to twice a week on a regular basis. Pole work and complex jump grids are also good options to try!
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
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Mariel Abanes is the Managing Editor of POLO LADY Magazine.