Tuesday, 9 February 2016

No Turnout Days

Sometimes, when the weather is extra bad, the yard ask that any stabled horses are kept in for the day. Being on a large livery, we do have grass liveries and luckily we do get great turnout. However, there are those days when it just pours and pours so limiting the number of horses out helps to keep the fields from getting badly churned up.

Luckily, Pea is generally quite calm about the odd day in but I do like to give him a stretch and also some entertainment. Below are some tips on how to keep your horse occupied when they can't go out:

A Large Haynet:
I'm a big advocate of ensuring that Pea always has hay/haylage on offer throughout the year. Horses are trickle feeders and therefore it's best they eat little and often. During the winter, Pea has a big haynet over night and then on the odd day he is in, he has one on offer then as well. In the summer, he's in during the day and will still have a haynet in the stable. He doesn't tend to really eat it but I prefer that it's there for him and hope that it means less gorging on the grass! I remember once, we had the Spillers team out for weighing and feed advice and she told me not to give him anything when he's in. I was quite shocked by this as it was drilled throughout uni nutrition courses to always ensure horses have something on hand, even if they're overweight! There are now the little fibre blocks you can get so I might give those a go this year!

Pea currently has a likit, a horselyx and a salt lick in his stable. He doesn't seem at all fussed in the likit which is slightly irritating and the salt lick hasn't altered much over the months but he does occasionally have his horslyx (only noticed by the stains on his legs when he finds it entertaining to wipe the lick over him!). I'm aware these are quite high in sugar but seeing as Pea doesn't gorge on them, I'm not exactly fussed! He's also a really good weight this winter which I always like as he seems to suddenly fatten out within a week once spring grass arrives! 

I often hide carrots in Pea's haynet for him and he also has a swede hanging from a rope to give him a bit of entertainment during the day. 

Leg stretches:
On the days Pea has to stay in, it generally means the weather is awful and riding is off the cards. I do, however, like to ensure that he gets a walk round (and seeing as he hates the walker, we have to do it in hand). I tend to give him a loose lunge in the morning if it's not too terrible or we go for a walk round over poles for 15 minutes. This is especially good for Pea to keep him supple and ensure he doesn't get too stiff behind which I'm sure you are aware we've had issues with. In the evening, I then take him for a spot of grass and walk before popping him to bed for the night. 

I hope these help if your horse ever has to stay in for a day or two (or the dreaded box-rest!). 

If you have any of your own tips then I'd love to hear them!

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

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