Horse doesn’t relax in the winter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Horse doesn’t relax in the winter

Hey guys! I’ve noticed a trend with Hawk every winter and I’m looking for some insight.
Hawk is always very “tight” in the winter and never seems to get past that coiled spring feeling under saddle. I have tried longer warmups, therapeutic pads, quarter sheets, etc. He gets regular massage and chiro. But every winter he stays tense the entire ride.
I’ve tried lots of walking, I’ve tried pushing him forward into a hand gallop to get some of the energy out and get him thinking forward. I do lots of lateral work and bending.
Last week when it was warm he was working beautifully. We spent our whole ride on Friday doing leg yielding at all gaits because he was feeling “up.” Today it was colder and windy and he never settled, especially tracking left at the trot. He did better tracking right, but that’s his better side.
Any ideas on what to try? I just want him to settle and work over his back like he has been doing. He’s clearly cold backed in this weather. I’ve been using his BOT saddle pads and he’s blanketed to keep him warm when I’m not riding.
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post #2 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 07:48 PM
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Does he stay in a stall?
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The horse has done so much for humans, and I feel like it is time we repay their loyalty and bravery by being as kind to them as possible. Humans and horses should have a harmonious relationship where bits and spurs don't color the picture.
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post #3 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 07:59 PM
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Sounds like your horse does not like the cold! I had a horse, Percheron/Arabian cross that was a great ride when it was 80 degrees, ok at 50-60 degrees, and a holy terror below 32!

He got much of the winter off, and we would start back serious work in February to get back in show shape. He had lots of turnout time, so never lost all his condition. I also lunged him regularly in the winter, almost never during show season.

One thing that really helped my gelding was riding on the cold days with a wool blanket under the saddle and pad. It may look a bit funny, but he was happier, so our ride was more pleasant

Living in the south, I don't deal well with the cold either, so I ride pretty bundled up! Thermal or silk leggings under my breeches or sweat pants (yeah I ride in sweat pants when its cold) and insulated boots. When its 40 degrees

So yeah, if my horse is cold, he gets a wool blanket to wear

Oh and LOTS of lateral work! Have to keep his brain engaged...
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post #4 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 08:02 PM
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For horses that are bothered by the wind, use a ear net preferable with padded ears. Their ears can get very cold, and the ear net can protect them and help them focus.

Bonus they look adorable
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post #5 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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He is turned out all day and stalled at night
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post #6 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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He hates the cold!! He will escalate to being a holy terror which is why I try to keep him worked, so he doesn’t eat the barn staff 🏼 He will be quite a jerk on the ground, biting and tearing mostly.
I at first thought perhaps the fleece quarter sheet was irritating him, so I removed it. But it didn’t seem to help.
He seems inclined to jig, toss his head and would probably like to rear given the opportunity. Even at the hand gallop he seemed reluctant to actually stretch out and move forward.
Im actually now wondering if this is because I had his rear shoes pulled for the winter like I do every year. Would that make sense to anyone?
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post #7 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
For horses that are bothered by the wind, use a ear net preferable with padded ears. Their ears can get very cold, and the ear net can protect them and help them focus.

Bonus they look adorable <img style="max-width:100%;" src="https://www.horseforum.com/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />
I wouldn’t consider it the wind. He will probably carry on all winter regardless. But his ears could be cold I suppose. I’ll try an ear net next time I go out.
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post #8 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKB1994 View Post
He hates the cold!! He will escalate to being a holy terror which is why I try to keep him worked, so he doesnít eat the barn staff &#x1f3fc; He will be quite a jerk on the ground, biting and tearing mostly.
I at first thought perhaps the fleece quarter sheet was irritating him, so I removed it. But it didnít seem to help.
He seems inclined to jig, toss his head and would probably like to rear given the opportunity. Even at the hand gallop he seemed reluctant to actually stretch out and move forward.
Im actually now wondering if this is because I had his rear shoes pulled for the winter like I do every year. Would that make sense to anyone?
He might be hungry too. Not that I think he's not getting fed, but that he might be missing the constant grazing.

Try feeding him a flake of hay before you ride, and maybe add some magnesium. Some of my horses have needed a snack before a ride, some need a nap if fed before riding!

My gelding used to shove his head into the blanket when he was cold! So impatient with me...

My current gelding, a RMHA is a fur baby and likes it colder. He is happiest at 50 degrees!

Not sure about my paint gelding yet, too new to know his preferences.
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post #9 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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He always has hay in front of him. But he’s usually napping with his friends when I get there. So I put him in his stall for a snack. I’ll ask if maybe we can move his hay net to a shared fence line to see if that helps. He also likes to pee before our rides, so I let him into his stall to do business &#x1f601;
I’ll look into magnesium!
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post #10 of 35 Old 11-03-2019, 09:31 PM
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Is he blanketed? Might not be warm enough. PSSM? They may need to be dressed warmer than usual. Is he different if you ride him after a night inside the barn(is it heated?) vs outside?
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