Season changes can always be interesting when it comes to horses, with changes to weather, grazing, light all contributing factors. As we go into autumn/winter there is a few things we can do to try and ease into the change.
I would say firstly, if your horses have been out 24/7, like Hamish has, and you are bringing them in for winter, plan the bring in day in advance. Make sure you have everything ready and organised, plenty of hard feed, bedding and hay stocked up and ready. This means that when they do come in its all organised and ready and not a mad rush at the last minute. This is probably more for your sanity than theirs!
We have moved from our summer field to our winter one. We have rested the ‘winter’ field all summer and it is back to full health. At the end of winter (as most field are), ours was a little worse for wear with little grass and lots of mud. It has now been rested and actually has masses of grass in it which Hamish is loving. If you’re going to move fields, set a day to move your electric fencing over, check the original fencing and waterers to ensure the field is all set and ready to go. Poo pick your old field, leaving it clear and move the horses over during the day time. This way you can keep a little eye on them and ensure they’re happy. We turned our boys out in the new field and they all went galloping off, until about 5 strides in when they realised how much grass there was and they all had to stop and graze immediately.
If your riding routine changes slightly, with less hacking, more schooling, schooling in the dark (with the flood lights on though, of course!), then try to ease into it slowly to avoid any total changes for the horses. You could start to bring more schooling into your routine, get ready and prepared for riding in the dark, you can ensure any changes in their work load are changed gradually and it should cause minimal hassle for you and them!
Hamish gets quite hairy, mostly due to his cushings and him being a little bit older (not that you’d know he was 24!). So I try to book in a clip for a sensible date when Hamish has enough hair to clip off but in enough time so he’s not getting all hot and sweaty, because in the cooler months that’s a nightmare. Also, if you book in advance, you know you’re sorted and you don’t end up at the end of a long waiting list. Or if you’re clever enough to clip your horse yourself, set a date and stick to it! Get your clippers ready and check they’re sharp (before you get half way through your clip and realise you have blunt clippers, that would be a bad look ha!)
I hope these things are useful for you. Hamish is luckily really easy-peasy and really couldn’t care less about the season changes but I know for some these can be quite tricky. It’s all a learning curve and you’ll know what’s best to do for your horse. And remember, it’s all good – if you’re much more a spring/summer person, there’s still lots to enjoy about the winter and if you’re prepared it should all run smoothly.