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7 Tips to Help your Horse Beat Winter Boredom

By December 19, 2022No Comments

Follow these tips to keep your horse happy and healthy all winter long


With the unpredictability of winter weather upon us, you might need some horse winter tips of what to do indoors with your rehabbing horse. Here are some tips, tricks, and things you can do with your horse when the freezing temperatures keep you inside!

  1. Handwalking – the days of extended stall rest for rehabbing are behind us as motion (although limited) equals proper healing! Daily handwalks, even just a lap or two around the barn are beneficial to both the mental and physical health of your healing horse. Keep in mind the location of your horse’s injury as small circles in the aisle may be tough on a healing injury. If you do not have an indoor space available to you, we recommend walking the aisle in a figure 8 pattern to flex both directions. This is also a great opportunity to refresh ground manners, improve skills, and teach new tricks!
  2. Stretches – maintaining muscle tone and flexibility in your horse is key to a speedy recovery! Daily neck stretches, butt tucks, shoulder stretches and hind stretches help your horse stay in shape when their activity level decreases during winter time rehabbing. Think of their stretches like horse-y yoga, low impact yet incredibly beneficial for the whole body, mind, and level of relaxation. (Demo video by Dr. Iverson coming soon!)
  3. Stall rest – add a mirror on the wall, a stuffed animal, a friend next door to keep loneliness at bay as rehabbing horses stay inside more through the winter. Enrichment activities such as a hay or treat ball, salt lick, and other hanging chew toys are great boredom busters to limit destructive behavior. Even putting your horse’s hay in a hay net or spreading it out into small piles around the stall will keep them busy and break up the monotony of stall rest. If your horse needs a little extra help getting through winter stall rest, speak with your vet about daily Trazodone or Reserpine.
  4. Weight – while your horse is rehabbing, their activity level will most likely decrease dramatically which can cause some serious weight gain. Talk to your vet about cutting back your horse’s diet and get creative with slow feeding, enrichment feeding, and treat usage! 
  5. Hydration – horses naturally drink less in colder weather, so add some electrolytes to a bucket or hang a salt lick for your more frugal drinkers to encourage hydration. You can also offer warm water or purchase bucket heaters for your horse to maintain consistent hydration. Staying hydrated is key to healthy healing and joint motion!
  6. Grooming – daily currying and grooming promotes blood circulation to larger areas while motion level is lower, and is a great way to bond with your horse. Grooming also offers insight into which areas of your horse are improved and which areas are causing continued discomfort. 
  7. Spa day – treating your horse to a chiropractic session, acupuncture, laser therapy, or Shockwave therapy adds an extra layer of relaxation and healing to your rehabbing horse during the cold winter months. 

Don’t let winter rehabbing get you down! Enjoy the extra time with your horse and treat them to some extra enrichment, therapies, and relaxation while they heal and get back into working shape!