Now the eventing season has come to an end *sob*, our thoughts turn to winter and assessing their winter routine for the next few months. In this blog post, I’m going to chat about our winter routine and what we do with Leo and Barley when it comes to feeding and turnout in Dorset.
When it comes to feeding, we don’t overcomplicate things and there isn’t much of a difference in the winter compared to the summer. The below feeds are the same for both morning and evening unless stated.
My 19-year-old 17.1 ISH, will be hacked about 2-3 times per week during the winter for up to 50 minutes, and hopefully depending on how his legs are we’ll enter some dressage and Arena Eventing competitions.
- 1 scoop Top Spec Joint Balancer – this helps with his joints and is non-heating.
- Supplement wise:
- We use Protexin Cosequin (in the evening) for keeping his joints supple which was recommended to us many years ago by a physio.
- We’ll probably supplement him this winter with a horse balancer like the Protexin gut balancer which will be great for his digestive system making sure he gets the right nutrients through the winter.
- We also add salt, corn oil, linseed and seaweed.
- All mixed together with Allen & Page Fast Fibre it’s low energy, which is ideal as Barley can be a bit spritely turning out. (Yes still!)
My 9-year-old 16.1 ISH, will be hacked about 3+ times per week during the winter for up to 50-60 minutes and we’ll continue to train from mid-November for British Show Jumping and Arena Eventing as well as the odd dressage test (okay – a lot of dressage practice!). Earlier this year Leo was diagnosed with ulcers and is still being treated so his diet is approved by our vet.
- 1 scoop Dengie Hi-Fi Molasses Free – we were advised to feed this with his feed by our vet.
- 1 scoop Top Spec Performance Lite Balancer – we’ll continue to feed Leo the balancer through the winter as he’s going to be training and competing so still needs energy. We’ll also feed a scoop of Tiger Oats in the lead-up to a competition for an extra bit of oomph (although there are days he definitely doesn’t need the extra oomph!).
- We also add salt, corn oil, linseed and seaweed and he’s also on powders for his ulcers.
- All mixed together with Allen & Page Calm & Condition which is high in fibre, low in starch and sugar – it’s great for slow-release energy which he’ll need for his comps.
Top tip – if you’re not sure what to feed your horse with the change of season, it’s always worth speaking to the feed company you use and chat with a nutritionist to discuss your horse’s current diet, work and turnout winter routine etc and they might even send you some vouchers in the post.
Our winter routine turning horses out during the winter is always, well interesting – especially with the ever-changing British weather.
The field is about a 5-minute walk from our stables/house through a quiet village, although it gets very busy around the school run. We try and keep to a similar routine turning out every day, but sometimes wet fields stop play.
During the week
- We turn the horses out before work – depending on the light around 7.30 am. I make sure I’m wearing my Equi Light torch head band and Vizirder LED vest – which are both going to be a huge help during those dark mornings (see photo below).
- In the field, they’re in small separate paddocks about 3-4 acres each as part of a 20-acre meadow field which is prone to flood from time to time.
- They’ll be living in their Rambo rugs from September all the way through to the Spring. Ours is several years old now and still going strong. It comes with a detachable neck and removable liner. At the moment it’s still really mild so they’re wearing it as a lightweight.
- My dad and either myself / mum / neighbour will bring them in about 12ish, after 5 hours of field time they’re usually pretty full up or fed up with the weather and are brought in to rest their bellies and tuck into their haylage, before being fed at about 5.30/6ish in the evening.
- Depending on the schedule for training or comps, the horses are turned out at about 12ish and brought in by 4 pm.
Top tip – always have a villager to keep an eye on your horses if you can’t see them from your window. We’re lucky we have a very lovely lady called Sue who keeps us updated on their daily antics!
If you’re looking for further tips on winter routine horse care, the BHS have a great article which you can read here.
Or if you have any top tips for winter routine care, drop a comment below. Next time I’ll share some of our winter riding routines.
If you like this post on equestrian winter routines, you might enjoy my top tips for winter self-care for you.
Note – I was recently commissioned by Equine Premium to share my thoughts on winter feeding and turnout routines.