We all know that turnout is beneficial to horses, but sometimes it just isn’t possible to turn horses out. The encroaching winter weather often brings snow and ice storms, and these conditions may leave your pastures unsafe for turnout. These tips can help you to keep your horses happy and healthy when turnout isn’t possible.
Turn Horses Out in an Indoor Arena
If you’re lucky enough to have access to an indoor arena, then you might use this space to provide your horses with some turnout time. If you need to feed hay, then it’s a good idea to hang a hay net and put a rubber stall mat underneath to prevent the hay from being mixed into the arena footing. Make sure that you clean up the manure regularly to further preserve the quality of the footing.
Hand Walk Horses Outside
You may be able to hand walk your horses outside to help stretch their legs and make them more comfortable. If you have areas outside where the ground is safe for walking, then try to get your horses out for a brief stroll at least once a day.
Clean Stalls More Than Once a Day
When your horses are cooped up inside, stall cleaning becomes more important than ever. Clean stalls at least twice a day to reduce the chance of thrush and to minimize the effect that the ammonia in urine will have on your horse’s respiratory system.
If you anticipate that your horses will need to stay in their stalls for a long period of time, you might consider investing in the StableComfort stall mattress system, which can help to create a comfortable stall base and reduce the amount of bedding that you need to use.
Groom and Massage Horses
Good, thorough grooming sessions can help to reduce your horse’s boredom and keep him healthier during a period in his stall. Grooming helps to break up boredom, but it’s also an important tool in promoting good circulation throughout your horse’s entire body. Make a point of picking your horse’s feet regularly, since the chance of him developing thrush is increased by long periods in his stall.
Additionally, doing some basic massage on your horse can help to increase circulation and improve or maintain muscle tone. If you don’t yet know equine massage, then look into having an equine massage therapist come out to the barn to teach you and your friends the basics of the craft.
Use a Small Hole Hay Net
Boredom can become a major issue when horses are confined for long periods of time, but food can help to break up boredom for horses. Invest in a small hole hay net to make your horse’s meals last longer, reducing his boredom. You might also look into the iFeed feeder, which can provide your horse with multiple smaller meals throughout the day to keep him entertained.
Interested in the products mentioned above? Call Classic Equine Equipment – we’d be happy to help you find the right products for your barn!
Original Source: Keeping Horses Happy and Healthy When Turnout Isn’t Possible