International Event Rider Laura Collett always gives her horses a break over the winter, here she shares with us her winter routine:
Which of your horses have a holiday in the winter?
All my horses have a holiday at the end of their busy eventing season, I believe it is important that they have some down time when they have had a busy season. It gives the younger ones a chance to think about what they have learned and grow up a bit and allows the older ones to have a bit of chill out time. I have youngsters in over the winter and their holidays are staggered depending on when they did their last event. I do try to have a two-week holiday but last year I didn’t get away as was too busy with young horses and racehorses in for schooling! All my horses have a holiday at the end of their busy eventing season, I believe it is
What process you go through when turning them out?
First of all, they have their shoes taken off, feet trimmed and prepared before being turned out in pairs. I like to keep them all in turn out rugs whilst on their holidays. They have two on when the weather is cold, but I make sure we take one off when it was milder, so they do not over heat as they are not clipped out.
Although they are out in the field, they are all checked and fed twice a day. Depending on how they are looking they are either fed on Dodson & Horrell Alfalfa Oil Plus, D&H Pasture Mix, a balancer or we add in D&H Build Up Conditioning Cubes and D&H Build & Glow if they’re not good doers. It is important that they over winter well or we will be starting on a back foot when we get them back into work.
How long do you turn them away for and from when until when?
They all have at least six weeks out in the field. The horses that have had a hard season will have up to eight weeks out chilling out. They are normally turned out in November and brought back into work in early January.
What process do you go through to bring them in and get them back into work?
When bringing the horses back into work after their holiday they do two weeks on the horse walker twice a day to start with, then a month of hacking to build up their fitness. It is not until they have done this that I start schooling on the flat and then finally jumping. It is important to start slowly and build up the work. Hacking on the roads is a great way of strengthening their legs ready for the season.
They all start work on D&H Alfalfa Oil Plus, D&H Pasture Mix and a balancer then if more is needed, they are given D&H Build Up Conditioning Cubes and Build & Glow. Once they’re up to full work and jumping they get swapped from D&H Pasture Mix to D&H Elite Sports Muesli, which is great for when they are working harder and need more slow release energy.