Here are some helpful, at times even funny, tidbits to keeping your horses happy and healthy:
1. Always trust your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, it's not right. When you sign-up for a clinic with a trainer you've never ridden with before, realize that you know your horse better than the trainer - even if that trainer has gold medals!!
2. Horses are supposed to eat 18 hours a day. They have a very long food road. That road should be traveled constantly in order to keep things from getting congested with rush hour. There should be NO rush hour in a horse's gut. Keep this in mind if you board your horse as most do. Two flakes in the morning and two flakes in the evening is not enough.
3. Horses are also supposed to be moving (grazing). One hour of turn-out a day is not enough. Who invented the box stall??
4. This one took me a while to understand because I was around the hunter world a lot as a kid. Draw reins do not help your horse move better. They don't even come close to getting you a better connection through the bridle. They create exactly the opposite of the ideal: Rollkur. Your horse should reach down and chew the bit if working long and low. If they are collected, the poll is the highest point of the head/neck - not the crest. The partner to this lesson is - tie-downs, wicked tight nosebands or cavessons, and most gadgets in general do not improve your horse's balance, collection or connection.
5. Your horse will survive winter without a blanket. I should probably say "generally" here. Older horses with special needs should be blanketed, but most times the owners feel better if their horse wears a blanket. And it makes riding through the winter much easier and safer. If your horse sweats during work that long hair will take a long time to dry. Best to blanket before the coat gets out of control.
6. It is so nice to have a big truck. The list of possibilities for a horse person with a truck is endless! You can haul almost anything through all sorts of weather!
7. It is so nice to have a horse trailer. You and your horse can have play dates with friends. Being mobile is the best!!
8. It is so nice to have money... so I've heard. Don't think it's beneath you to buy consignment items. You'd be amazed at what treasures you can find. And surely your horse will not be embarrassed if their halter and lead rope doesn't match.
9. It's fun to watch horsey films and TV during the winter. I am started with the Canadian Heartland series. What episode will she start wearing a helmet?! But there's National Velvet, International Velvet, the Black Stallion, Seabiscuit, etc.
10. There are a lot of great books out there for the really cold times that you aren't able to ride. Stay snuggy and warm and read one of the books I recommend on my website. It's very easy to purchase. Just click on the book and it takes you directly to Amazon.com.
Enjoy the winter time by using it to do horsey activities without being outside. Clean tack while you watch TV. And don't forget to do some sort of exercise to keep up with your horse. Let's hope this winter is light and easy :)