Christmas is rapidly approaching, and you’re probably busy with shopping, wrapping and planning. As you prepare for your holiday festivities, are you making sure that your horse is getting proper care and enough attention?


Make Time for Your Horse


Even if you just stop by the barn between errands, make time to see your horse. Bring him a treat, take him outside to hand graze, or hop on for a quick bareback ride. The holiday season is all about being with the ones we love, so be sure to spend as much time with your horse as possible.


Keep Up the Exercise


When winter conditions make pastures hazardous and your horse spends more time in his stall, his need for exercise can actually increase. Be sure that he gets out to stretch his legs daily, and if you have access to an indoor arena use it to help keep him fit. Short lunging sessions and light rides at the walk and trot will be a welcome relief from spending too much time in a stall each day. If your pastures are safe, then try to maximize his turnout time as well.


Find a Substitute


If you simply cannot dedicate the amount of time that your horse needs during the holiday season, then find someone to step in to take your place for a few weeks. A rider without a horse of their own might be the perfect solution to keeping your horse exercised and well cared for. College students return home on winter break in the middle of December; perhaps you can find a college student in need of some riding time to give your horse some exercise.


Plan for When You’re Away


If you will be traveling over the holidays, make plans to be sure that your horse is well cared for. If your horse is not on full board, then find a horse sitter now – it can be difficult to find pet care over the holidays as many people get booked up early, and you want to be sure that your horse’s care is in the hands of someone who is reputable and trustworthy.


Don’t forget the little things like farrier appointments and other health maintenance for your horse. Be sure to have his appointments scheduled before you leave, unless your vet or farrier will be stopping by while you are away. Stock up on all of your horse’s supplies, feeds and supplements so that he is prepared for when you are gone during the holidays.


Amidst all of the other holiday preparations, your horse’s needs can’t go overlooked. Plan ahead now so that you can sit back and enjoy yourself when the holidays arrive.


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