By Victoria Hamilton
Winter is coming! So, it is time to get prepared. Protecting your horse’s gut, feet and joints are always priorities, but in winter can be especially critical. Here are the three most important things to prepare for and manage this winter, to keep your horse in optimal health:
Horses just love small grass shoots! And with a stop/start to the winter season, like we’ve had this year, these small but problematic little shoots are coming up every time it rains. Unfortunately, as most people know, when horses feast on small shoots of grass, they pull them out of the ground, along with roots and the accompanying sand. The sand can accumulate in the horse’s gut and cause colic. Horses on sandy pastures, grazing in drought conditions, on overgrazed pastures or kept in a dry lot are particularly at risk, as the sand and dirt accumulates in their hindgut, leading to digestive upsets including diarrhoea and ‘sand colic’.
By Victoria Hamilton
A decade or so ago horses with certain traits would have been classified as hard to fit by riders and saddle fitters alike. But new research and technology has allowed world-class saddle makers to develop a good range of saddles for all horses, regardless of their physical traits. There can be more limited options available for some traits and/or horse and rider combinations, but it is improving all the time. And while custom-made saddles can be a brilliant option for some of the more challenging cases, there are also plenty of off-the-shelf saddles that are now well suited to many situations.
Find out what traits make a horse more challenging to fit, signs your horse has one or more of these traits, the impact this can have on saddle fit and most importantly, what you should be looking for in a saddle to ensure the comfort and performance of both you and your horse.
Dr Victoria Hamilton is an icon in the Western Australian Equestrian Community, with a wealth of experience as a veterinarian, coach, breeder and international dressage competitor. As one of Australia’s top dressage riders, her love of horses is contagious and apparent in everything she does.
Jenna Santos is a business marketer, events manager, writer, mother and an amateur dressage rider.