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What do you do with your horse(s) in the winter?

(15 Posts)
MuddyMare Sat 10-Sep-11 11:18:37

With the mornings and evenings getting darker I am wondering what to do with my horses over winter. They live out 24/7, we have no stables and no arena so any riding is becoming more difficult to fit in and I wonder if I should just give the horses a long holiday until spring? What do you with your horse(s) over winter?

eaglewings Sat 10-Sep-11 12:18:28

We would lunge in the field in the week if there was time and ride at weekends. Your other option is find a person to share who has spare time the days you don't

CeeYouNextTuesday Sun 11-Sep-11 00:58:27

DD and her friend ride their ponies in a small paddock in the dark. There is one light in the yard, which gives some small light, but it is pretty much just dark. The ponies can see fairly well, and once the girls eyes adjust they can cope quite well. They quite enjoy it.

AlpinePony Sun 11-Sep-11 10:35:48

Does anyone have an indoor school nearby you can rent by the hour?

I'm pregnant this winter so it won't really be an issue but have just moved to a yard with an indoor school (life saver!). Last few years she's had a lazy winter because although we had a lit outdoor school and snow is fine - ice-rink is not! hmm A local indoor school charged 600 a year to use! angry Which obviously I did not pay because I'm a tight arse, but would happily have paid 10 every time I used it iykwim!

Carrotsandcelery Sun 11-Sep-11 10:39:37

Could you just hack out with them over the winter at weekends, just to keep you and them ticking over?

My dd is nearly ready for her own pony but I am willing her to grow a bit so we could buy one that I could ride during the day and she could ride in the evenings and at weekend.

A girl can always dream grin

Callisto Sun 11-Sep-11 11:11:08

Last year DD's pony had the winter off - his extremely thick coat meant that hacks had to be limited to a slow plod every so often. This year I'm going to give him a belly clip and DD will ride more regularly through the winter. Having said that, he is now at a yard where there are much better facilities so it will be easier to keep him a bit fitter. He will still live out, but rugged this time. TBH if DD had been less keen I would happily have let him have the entire winter off.

LisaD1 Sun 11-Sep-11 14:23:22

I do the same every winter with mine. We're at a yard with no school but fantastic hacking and an area at the back of yard which has bark chippings down and is flood lit.

I get up very early one day a week and am in the saddle by 6am, ride for 30 mins then rush home and get ready for work. I also only work Mon-Thur so get a ride in on Friday and we ride both days at weekend (I have a sharer but 2 horses anyway so still have to fit in as much riding as possible).

olderyetwider Sun 11-Sep-11 16:29:03

We hack out when possible, lots of road work if they've been gritted, and gd's ponies will work a lot in the indoor school. DH and I have live-outs so we only work them gently (mainly walk) as we will minimally clip. Pony Club rallies in winter are a god-send for keeping the fun going for gd, and this year she's hoping to hunt.

MuddyMare Sun 11-Sep-11 17:05:47

We live in the middle of nowhere, miles from anywhere with a manège (indoor or outdoor) and there are no street lights so can only hack out when it is light outside (when it gets dark it really gets dark around here, pitch black). I'm done with trying to find a sharer as have been messed around so many times with people coming for free rides, then letting me down later, normally at last minute. Do you think it would be fair on the horses to only ride at weekends or should I just give them the winter off? How easy is it to bring them back into work again? This will be our first winter with no facilities (moved the horses home from a livery yard this summer, mainly for financial reasons). A bit worried that the big horse may go stir crazy with no work, he can be a bit of a naughty boy at best of times.

AlpinePony Sun 11-Sep-11 17:12:38

Tbh weekends are fine unless you're covering 40 miles at speed on a sat afternoon. I definitely wouldn't have them boxed 24/7 but you say your guys are out. Now toss away that guilt and enjoy them, presumably you brought them home so you could continue to enjoy them! smile

LisaD1 Sun 11-Sep-11 18:08:30

Agree with AlpinePony - stop the guilt and do what works for you!

In the worst of winter mine get ridden less and sometimes that can mean just weekends, you do what you have to do to get through the winter.

Can't believe winter is round the corner again!

Pixel Sun 11-Sep-11 20:39:54

It'll just be roadwork for us when not foggy or icy or dark or just too bloomin' cold to bother (meaning about once a week if we are lucky once winter sets in). Farmer has promised to level off a bit of ground and put bark down but I'm not holding my breath!

Callisto Mon 12-Sep-11 08:08:52

I wouldn't worry too much about your big horse - most horses unwind really well after a few weeks off. He will probably be much more chilled than if he is in full work.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 24-Sep-11 23:00:15

I spend most of my winter trying to keep the hair/mud at bay and endless mucking out as they are in 24/7 from nov to end of feb. I lunge in the arena if it's light, hack out at weekends if he's sane enough.

Mirage Sun 25-Sep-11 19:41:19

We've got a floodlit menage,if we can get the generator going,and apart from weekends,we'll be in there.Dpony won't be happy as she loves hacking and doesn't like schooling much.A friend has an Olympic sized menage across the road from us and says we can use it so I should check and see if it has lighting before the dark evenings set in.

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