15 Top Tips for Winter Survival as a Horse Owner

To survive the winter we asked our Eland Lodge followers for their best tips, tricks and hacks for surviving the winter!

Tip 1 – Use turnout boots and stable wraps to prevent mud fever rather than washing your horse’s legs every day (Thanks to Nicola Lambert for this tip).

This tip is especially relevant for horses with white legs! Here's a couple of our favouirte boots that could help you this winter:

The Woof Wear Mud Fever Boots feature a submarine hoof capsule that reaches below the bulbs of the heel, and also has a snug fitting cuff to prevent mud ingress. Made from a loose fitting breathable fabric, these boots help to create a cool & dry micro-climate to prevent bacterial growth. These boots are also machine washable, and made from a quick drying material which is perfect for washing overnight and having them ready again by the morning.

The Le Mieux Stable Boots feature a soft removable liner with a flannel inner to help wick away water, so ideal for drying wet legs. The breathable Airprene fabric and wide micro-suede straps make these boot wraps indispensable.

Winter Survival: WW Mud Fever Boots

Tip 2 – Make a couple of days feed up and put them in a carrier bag and write down your horse’s routine. So if you can’t get to the yard because of snow etc, other people can look after your horse without you worrying (Thanks for this tip Sarah Harrison).

A product hack for this tip: The Red Gorilla Tubtop is a transparent, plastic tub cover for your Gorilla Tubs, these sturdy lids allow you to stack your tubs and come in a variety of sizes.

Winter Survival: Red Gorilla Lid

Tip 3 - To stop your stable water freezing, put your bucket inside a larger bucket, and pad the larger bucket out with straw or shavings to insulate it.

Need more buckets? We have a number of different size buckets available at Eland Lodge.

Tip 4 - Keep your hay seeds and short hay bits that the horses don't eat and spread over paths to give you some grip when icy, works better than sand! (With thanks to Sue Pidge).

(We've not tested this one ourselves, but it sounds like a great use for all those unwanted bits of hay!)

Tip 5 - Put a water container in the muck heap, the next day you'll have hot water. You can also cook items this way, but it's not something we would do!! (Thank you Sally Alexander for this genius life hack!)

Tip 6 - Wrap locks or taps in travel boots to stop them freezing (Thanks Gemma Stables - fantastic idea to keep those travel boots busy while we can't go anywhere!).

You can always treat yourself to a new pair of travel boots and use your old ones for this tip. The Shires Arma Air Motion Defence Travel Boots offer high levels of protection whilst travelling, yet are also breathable. The tough nylon outer is combined with dense padding to withstand knocks and blows whilst your horse is on the move. To assist with temperature regulation, the boots feature an Air Motion lining that circulates air to wick away moisture and ensure maximum breathability. Strong touch close straps allow full adjustability for a great fit and PVC scuff guards add further protection and durability.

Winter Survival: Shires Arma Travel Boots

Tip 7 – A great way to recycle water – Use water butt's to collect rain water from field shelters or stable roofs. Make sure they are full before a cold spell, as they are useful to top up water troughs (Thanks Sue Pidge, we love this environmentally friendly tip!).

Tip 8 -  Use tennis balls in outdoor water troughs, they might not stop the water freezing but it stops the tubs cracking and it is much easier to break the ice (Thanks to Rosemary Myers)

Tip 9 – Fill plastic bottles ¾ of the way full with salt water and place in the troughs... Salt water doesn't freeze and floats (A tried and tested method favoured by Liz Young and Kiri Storrar)

Tip 10 – Use a sieve with a handle, or a shavings fork, it is invaluable for getting ice out of water troughs (Great ideas to prevent cold hands, by Sue Pidge & Donna Aldridge).

If you fancy upgrading your shavings folk Red Gorilla PC Bedding Fork is super lightweight with strong polycarbonate tines. This shaving fork comes with a well-balanced aluminium handle which allows you to have a strong and comfortable grip.

Winter Survival: Red Gorilla Fork

Tip 11 - Wear layers. Several thin layers are more effective at keeping you warm than one thick layer. Thin layers can also be removed if you get too warm (Top tip from @legoverlady).

The Toggi Sport Ladies Winter Reflector Technical Baselayer is ideal for this, it is made from a super soft, brushed back stretch fabric. Featuring a practical zip neck and flattering seamlines. Reflective prints aid visibility and contemporary features include fusible hems and a grown on collar.

Winter Survival: Toggi Winter Baselayer

Tip 12 - Waterproof fleece lined chaps are a godsend when it’s freezing cold (Deb Dean).

We've got to agree with you there Deb! Our favourite pair this winter has to be the Le Mieux DryTex Stormwear Waterproof Trousers, which will withstand the hard work of winter. Made from breathable yet durable material they feature a unique membrane and taped seams to ensure they are fully waterproof. Super practical they have zipped pockets to keep your valuables safe and dry whilst reflective strips around the pockets and lower leg make sure you are seen in dull light. The elasticated foot straps stop the bottoms rising up whilst riding and the full silicone seat ensures stability in the saddle. They are finished with reinforced knees and inner leg for riding and an elasticated waistband to offer comfort and a secure fit.

Winter Survival: Le Mieux Stormwear Waterproof Trousers

Tip 13 - Invest in a good pair of waterproof and insulated boots - there's nothing worse than frozen feet! (Great tip by @thehorsebackphotographer)

The Ariat Ladies Berwick Tall GTX Insulated Country Boots are the ultimate winter long boot. Taking style and performance to the next level, the Berwick GTX® Insulated boots are designed for durability, style and comfort during even the most temperamental of weather.

Winter Survival: Ariat Berwick Boots

Tip 14 - Always wear a hat — you lose most of your body heat through your head (One of our favourite tips by Polly Williamson in Horse & Hound).

The PS of Sweden Samantha Knitted Hat is a comfortable and warming knitted hat that breathes and expands without losing its shape.

Winter Survival: PS Bobble Hat

And last but not least...

Tip 15 - When all else fails, there is always Gin!!! (Maxine Scott-Cupples, we thoroughly agree!)