Prepare Your Horse For Spring

Think Spring!

Despite the chill in the air and the occasional snow and ice storm, spring really is just around the corner. If you and your horse have had some downtime the last few months due to the cold, here are some tips to help you both return to a regular riding schedule safely and successfully!

First, remember that if your horse hasn’t yet shed his winter coat, he will be more prone to sweat as he is returning to work under the saddle. Try to schedule in some extra grooming with a curry comb and a shedding blade to remove excess hair. You can also consider clipping your horse’s coat to make cooling out easier, but remember you will have to then blanket your newly clipped horse.

Spring is also the time to have your veterinarian out for routine vaccinations and a physical. Remember to have your horse’s teeth checked as well, even if your horse is not yet exhibiting signs of discomfort in his mouth like dropping food or tossing his head. Having the teeth floated is a great preventative.

Don’t leave out hoof care. If your horse has gone barefoot all winter, consider putting on shoes to prevent excessive hoof wear and tear.  If you and your blacksmith decide to forego the shoes, regular hoof trimming and filing are a must.

The most important factor when returning yourself and your horse to work is planning your actual ride. If you and your horse have had the entire winter off, be sure to plan an appropriate conditioning schedule. Be ready for your horse to have some extra energy the first several rides!  Start slowly, with lots of walking to slowly build up your horse’s musculature and stamina. Keep an eye on your horse’s breathing and heart rate so you are sure not to overwork your horse initially.

Your veterinarian, blacksmith, and riding instructor are all great resources for more tips on preparing for the 2008-riding season. Good luck, stay safe, and have fun!

By Mary Jo Zanolli

Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: