7 ways to treat your horse at Christmas

7 ways to treat your horse at Christmas

Christmas is a time for family – and that includes your four-legged family members. It’s also a time to treat those you love, so we’ve rounded up ideas of how you can share some festive cheer with your horse.

1. Get your horse a Christmas gift

We’ve rounded up loads of gift ideas so you can find something to treat your horse this festive season. And remember, your horse doesn’t know that you needed a new saddle pad anyway – so if there’s something essential that needs replacing, present him or her with an early Christmas present.

2. Give them a good groom

Often a quick brush-over is all you have time for – especially with the shorter days – so make the time to give your horse a proper head-to-toe pamper. A thorough groom will have a massaging effect, which your horse will appreciate. Plus, it’s a good chance to give their mane and tail some attention.

3. Get your horse a massage

A massage can be used as a one-off treatment in addition to your horse’s usual maintenance routine. Regular checks from relevant professionals, including dental care from an equine dental technician, assessments by a veterinary physiotherapist and visits from a qualified saddle fitter, should be part of your horse’s routine care. If they haven’t featured in your horse’s life as much as they should have, then now is the time to start.

4. Make them some homemade treats

Treat your horse in the literal sense with homemade healthy snacks (and if you own a dog, you can make Christmas treats for your dog, too).

Combine two grated carrots with 100g oats, 100g flour and 1tbsp honey. Roll the mixture into small cookie balls and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 190°C until they’re lightly golden in colour.

5. Get your horse a new stable toy

If there’s a chance your horse will be spending more time in their stable over the Christmas period, a new stable toy will provide much-needed enrichment to keep them entertained.

It could come in the form of a dispensing ball or a hanging treat. But it doesn’t have to be food-related, which is great if your horse is on a restricted diet. Look at scratching pads, too – once your horse has worked out how to use them, they won’t be able to resist.

6. Take them for a walk in-hand

This is a great option if your horse is on reduced turnout due to bad weather or the grazing has become particularly poor over winter. If you can, choose an area with a mixture of grasses for added variety. It’s also nice to spend some quality time with your horse when you’re not rushing around getting yard chores done or working him or her. And your horse will appreciate the extra grass – even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

7. Clean your tack

Most horse owners skip this chore more often than they’d care to admit, but others find it therapeutic. Leather can become stiff when it’s not cared for, especially in colder weather, so take the time to clean it up and condition it. Ensuring it stays supple will not only keep it in good condition and looking smart, but it will keep it comfortable for your horse, too.

These Christmas treats can really work at any time of year, so if you find you enjoy them as much as your horse does, why not make some of them a more regular event? Spending time with your horse to improve your bond will benefit both of you.