All horsey folk know that owning horses is not just a hobby but a lifestyle. Horses require care 365 days a year, including over christmas. Whilst Christmas is a time for eating, drinking, spending time with family (and your horse!) we must consider the safest way for them to enjoy the festivities too. Here are my top tips to keep everyone feeling merry this Christmas.
Horses are creatures of habit and thrive off a regular routine. Whilst the festive season can be a busy time, try to stick to a routine to avoid your horse becoming unnecessarily stressed. To help your horse cope with a change in management over winter, give a probiotic supplement such as Science Supplements or Protexin Gut Balancer.
Lack of time or bad weather may mean you are not as keen to ride your horse as usual over Christmas. Standing in a stable too long can result in health issues such as impaction colic so make an effort to exercise or turn your horse out if they are having a holiday.
Taking a break
If your horse is having a well-earned holiday over Christmas, make sure you reduce their feed accordingly to suit their energy requirements and build back up again slowly when they resume work.
In stable entertainment
Feeding your horse mince pies or other festive treats they may not be accustomed to can lead to an imbalance in hindgut bacteria. Instead, try these Lincoln Christmas Horse Treats or Likit Selection Box. Of course avoid anything sugary for horses or ponies prone to laminitis. Equilibrium Vitamunch is an ideal snack for these horses.
If your horse is taking medication then make sure you order well in advance to ensure you have plenty to last over the Christmas period. Don’t forget to have your vet do an encysted red worm test over winter or to worm with Equest or Panacur if this is not possible.
Written by: Dr. Sophie Meers BVSc MRCVS