Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at
from Cherry Hill


November 2001

Making, Not Breaking
Trailering Your Horse
Horse Handling & Grooming
How To Think
Like A Horse
Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill
Horse Handling and Grooming by Cherry Hill
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill

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 Getting Ready for Winter
Footing Part 2: Soil Evaluation and Care


Getting Ready for Winter

Richard and I have a "before the snow" list that we've been working on the last few weeks. No matter where you live, there are probably certain things you need to do before winter hits. Here are some of the things on our list that might help you remember to add things to your own list (I've indicated articles that appear on the Horsekeeping Roundup page for more information on these winter topics):

1. Be sure you have enough hay to last until next hay season. Research at Colorado State University has shown that wood chewing increases during cold, wet weather. If your horses have access to wooden fences, gates, or buildings, be sure the wood is protected from their destructive teeth. Not all horses are wood chewers but even the most angelic horse can take a few bites when the weather is stressful. That's why it is important that during winter weather, horses get ample long-stem hay (as opposed to roughage in pellet or wafer form). The slow chewing associated with eating roughage is soothing and satiating to your horse. You don't want to run out of hay in the middle of winter and go scrambling or pay high prices. Read how to choose good hay here: Choosing_Good_Hay

2. Get winter turnout sheets and blankets ready. Any day now, I'll be putting waterproof/breathable turnout sheets or lightweight turnout blankets on my horses; they live in sheltered pens or on pasture. If your horse lives indoors, you will be shifting to a stable blanket of appropriate weight for your climate. Check all of your blankets (buckles, Velcro, tail ties, surcingles) thoroughly now so they are ready to use at a moment's notice. For more on blankets, see these 3 articles: Blanket Selection, Winter Blanket Care, and Winter Blanketing. They can be found under Horse Clothing at Horse Information Roundup.

3. Put tails up for the winter. This will protect them from accumulating ice and frozen mud and minimize breakage. See more on tail care in my article tips_for_long_tails.

4. Get any new fence posts into the ground before it freezes.

5. Check your barn water lines, appliances, faucets and hoses to be sure they are protected from freezing. See more articles on Winter Care under Management at Horse Information Roundup.

6. Move all of your fly sprays, grooming products and other freezables into a heated cupboard or room.

7. Oil gate hinges and latches so they operate freely and have less of a chance of freezing up.

8. Plan your winter shoeing needs with your farrier and read this article winter_shoes


Footing Part 2: Soil Evaluation and Care

Last month I began a 5 part series on arena footing, a most important consideration for your horse's soundness and your safety. To have a productive training session, arena footing must be good.

Good footing gives a horse the confidence to move forward with energy and elasticity. Poor footing is dangerous and can cause a horse to fall or to move timidly or with resistance.

Before you even think about adding new footing to your arena site or enhancing what is already there, you need to know the type of soil that you are starting with. In order to learn the soil's characteristics, you need to have the soil tested. When you sample, be sure you get a cross sample from the entire arena. Don't dig down to the base because the soil character there will be different. Have the soil evaluated by a state university soil lab or a private soil lab rather than by the manufacturer of one type of footing that might have a specific interest in sales. Be wary of home-style test kits because you must know what you are doing or you could get the wrong results and costly decisions could be made incorrectly.

Read the rest of the article here: footing_2


That's it for this month. Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.

"I can't imagine life without horses." - Cherry Hill


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  2006 Cherry Hill 

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