Anne-Marie Duarte, super groom for Olympic eventer Selena O’Hanlon, shares how she helps the horses in her care stay warm during frigid Canadian winters.
What do you do to help horses that have a hard time coping with the cold or the transition from warm to cold weather?
“This is big on my mind this year – we have horses who haven’t done a Canadian winter in a long time but unfortunately it doesn’t look like Florida is an option at the moment. Tempting as it is to buy all the biggest blankets you can find, a really basic but often overlooked aspect of keeping horses warm is their diet. Making sure the horses have constant access to good quality hay is a huge factor as to how well they regulate their body temperature. Movement is also basic but important – in the worst Canadian winter we are careful to keep the horses moving even if that’s just hand walking. The horses are like people in that some feel the cold more than others. Tempting as it is to pile on the blankets, a sweaty, clammy horse is a serious health risk. For this reason the Draper Stable Sheet infused with Celliant is the ideal option for fall and winter travelling or anytime when the temperatures might fluctuate unexpectedly. I hope not to repeat the experience but I do remember a winter when it was so cold we used Draper No Bows and wrapped the horses legs for extra warmth!”