Can horses cope with sudden cold weather?
Horses can survive and even thrive in what we consider to be very inhospitable conditions, but they do need plenty of feed to fuel them and keep them warm.
Whilst social media paints a glamourous picture of owning horses - white breeches, perfect plaits and 10 for your centre line - I think everyone who owns horses knows that the reality is very different. Especially if like me, you have three horses, two dogs, a full-time job, a part-time Masters degree and a partner who would like to go out for a meal more than just on birthdays.
The reality of 5am alarms, slopping around in knee-deep mud with a failing head torch and battling sodden rugs in high winds, leads to a lot of wondering why we bother spending all this time and money on an animal who is either trying kill themselves (our us) on a daily, seemingly never-ending, basis.
Working as a Feed Line Advisor for Simple System Horse Feeds we hear about more than just feeding issues and ultimately most people I speak with believe that owning horses is hard work.
Alongside all the normal work and personal commitments, caring for horses means there is a lot to juggle, and whilst everyone else thinks we’re having a jolly good time gallivanting around the countryside it’s a constant source of emotional and financial worry. I am starting to realise more and more that we as horse owners, need to take the pressure off ourselves and I’m learning to accept that so long as our horses are happy and healthy, what else actually matters?
Most of us fell in love with horses as a child because we relished the freedom of spending hours (and hours!) at the yard just enjoying our horse's company. Simply sitting with them and reading a book or grooming until they shone just for something fun to do. We need to do more of this, for our own mental well-being but probably also our horses. It really doesn’t matter if you haven’t ridden in a week, or two, or a month, or if that show you’d aimed for came and went without you so much as picking up a test sheet.
If we all just took a step back, allowed ourselves to slow down and stopped trying to do everything perfectly I think we’d remember how enjoyable owning horses can be. And I think our horses would enjoy life more too. They don’t care for fancy rosettes or a regimented training schedule - they just want a regular meal, some fresh air and a bit of companionship.
The unavoidable truth is that horses are expensive, you’re going to get muddy, you’ll always have hay in your hair and you’ll never find that hoof-pick you lost last week - so why are we making ourselves miserable feeling we have to produce an Instagram worthy post, every day of the week? If all you achieved today was finally unloading the feed that has been in your car boot all week, well done you!Myself and Simple System's Feed Line team are available to offer free feeding and management support. Please feel welcome to be in touch 01728 604 008 or by completing our online form.
Written by Ellen Lincoln of Simple System Horse Feeds as part of BETA's Winter of Welfare & Wellbeing Campaign.