Christmas is a time renowned for seeing family and indulging in lots of yummy food. Here are some ideas on sharing the day with your horse so that they enjoy Christmas day as much as you!
- Feed plenty of forage – if your horse is going to spend more time than usual in their stable on Christmas day, make sure you give them plenty of forage to munch on. If your horse is on restricted forage because they need to lose weight then make sure they have a small amount several times during the day; if you’re on a yard perhaps work out a schedule with some friends.
- Make their meals extra special – add some treats to their meal, even a carrot or apple will help make their feeds a bit more special.
- Add some festive flavour – mix a teaspoon of cinnamon into their feed.
- Bake some ‘equine’ cookies – mix together flour, grated carrot/ apple, oatmeal and molasses and bake, cut into shapes and decorate with a dusting of icing sugar or ginger.
- Have a drink – stout can be added to your horses feed, but only in small amounts, give them a ‘glug’ and save the rest for yourself!
- Get creative – if your horse is stabled, hang up some parsnips or swede or place them in their haynet as a tasty ‘surprise’.
- Cut down their feed – if your horse is having a break from their normal work or they are doing less work, remember to cut back on their hard feed to avoid the Christmas bulge!
- Don’t lie in too late – remember horses are creatures of habit and whilst a lie is lovely for us, your horse may not appreciate having to wait for you to get up.
- Make sure they get out of their stable – organise a festive ride with some friends complete with a tinkle browband or fancy dress, turn them out in a field or arena or simply take them for a short hand walk.
- Give them a stocking too – fill it with things you need such as first aid supplies (e.g. Foran Equine Eazi-Wrap bandages) or health care items (e.g. Carr & Day & Martin Gallop Conditioning Shampoo). For more ideas visit our blog.
Remember when it comes to treating your horse over the festive season, sudden changes to their diet should be avoided and treats should only be fed in small quantities – everything in moderation. You should also consider if your horse is competing under rules; you need to avoid feeding anything that may contain Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS). Keep in mind that items such as chocolate contain NOPS, so take care when tucking into any festive treats on your yard.