Caring for Your Horse this Winter – From the Ground Up

Autumn and winter can bring relief from summer heat but the cold and wet of winter and the reduced daylight hours bring their own challenges for horse owners and trainers. We cannot control the weather but with some planning and attention to details the colder months can still be safe and productive.

Thankfully Australia does not generally have the extremes of winter such as Europe and northern America but even in our temperate areas problems can be encountered if preparations are not carried out diligently.

What happens to horses in the cold?

Horses have many mechanisms to help them handle the cold and wet however problems can appear when we ask them to perform competitively while it is cold. Decreases in muscle temperature can have detrimental effects on performance as cold muscles do not cycle as quickly and the nerves supplying instructions to muscles do not fire as quickly. Cold muscles are biomechanically stiffer than warm ones with the result that movements are restricted. As well cold affects the way groups of muscle react or work together which changes the way exercising horses move. This lack of coordination can decrease overall performance and also decrease the resilience of the leg structures thus making it imperative to extend warming up periods before exercising in cold conditions. It is also more important to make sure that major leg structures, i.e. ligaments and tendons, are in perfect condition to withstand the extra stresses applied by exercising cold muscles.






Swollen legs, knocks, bumps and leg stresses are very common in wet, wintery conditions. Prompt attention to any apparent swelling or lameness in the legs can help prevent complications and reduce healing time.

Apply a clay poultice to treat leg soreness and reduce swelling.  A medicated clay poultice will help prevent infections especially those found in wet conditions.  The poultice provides a cooling effect on injuries caused by hard knocks or stresses. The clay draws out the heat commonly generated at injury sites to aid in more rapid recovery. Poultices can also be used to draw out stone bruises and for general hoof soreness.



Solution? Use SwellDOWN

The combination of clays and medicated ingredients in SwellDOWN has a cooling effect on the skin. Heat produced by heavy work or injury is drawn out at a rapid rate aiding in recovery.