Spring Horse Care – 11 Essential Tips to Prepare for Riding Season


As the winter season comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing for the upcoming riding season. Grooming is a great way to refresh both your horse’s appearance and their overall health. By taking the time to groom your horse properly, you can ensure that they’re in top-notch condition for all the riding adventures that lie ahead.

One of the hazards of winter is the tendency for horses to hang out in their stalls, eating and having limited exercise. This can lead to some unwanted weight gain. To help manage their weight, it’s essential to start incorporating regular exercise into their daily routine. Whether it’s lunging, riding, or even jumping, getting your horse back into action will help them shed those extra pounds and keep them fit and healthy.

While grooming, don’t forget to check their feet. Winter conditions can be harsh, and it’s crucial to have a farrier examine their hooves to ensure they’re in good condition. Regular maintenance and trimming can prevent any potential problems from developing as the riding season begins.

Tacking up is another essential aspect of preparing for riding season. Take the time to inspect all your tack, from bits to bridles, and make sure they’re in good working order. Replace any damaged or worn-out tack and check the fit of your saddle. A properly fitting saddle is crucial for your horse’s comfort and well-being.

When it comes to feeding, it’s important to adjust your horse’s diet accordingly. During the winter, horses may need extra calories to stay warm, but now that spring is here, you can gradually reduce their intake. Consult with your veterinarian or equine nutritionist to develop a feeding program that meets your horse’s specific needs.

Preparing your arena or riding space is also vital. Remove any debris, such as branches or rocks, and inspect the fences for any damage. Repair or replace any broken or loose fences to provide a safe environment for both you and your horse. Additionally, drag the arena surface to level out any uneven areas and make sure to water it regularly to keep the dust down.

Lastly, never forget about your horse’s health and well-being. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian for a full check-up, including vaccinations and teeth floating. It’s also wise to have a first-aid kit handy, containing items such as wound care products, bandages, and other necessary supplies.

Spring is a time of new beginnings, and by following these tips, you can ensure that you and your horse are ready to enjoy a summer full of riding adventures. So, grab your brushes, set up your grooming station, and get started on the horse care tasks that will set you up for a great riding season!

Schedule a Veterinary Check-up

One of the most important tips to get ready for the riding season is to schedule a veterinary check-up for your horse. It is essential to have your horse’s health examined by a veterinarian to ensure they are in good shape for the upcoming riding season.

During the check-up, the veterinarian will assess your horse’s overall body condition, teeth, and limbs. They will also check if there are any metabolic conditions or chiropractic issues that need to be addressed. It’s crucial to address any health concerns early on, as they can affect your horse’s performance and well-being.

In addition to a general health check-up, your veterinarian can also provide helpful advice on nutrition and supplements for your horse. They can recommend a feeding schedule, the right type of hay and pellets to add to their diet, as well as any necessary vitamins and minerals. Your veterinarian can also recommend if your horse needs any extra supplements to maintain a healthy body condition.

Another important aspect of the veterinary check-up is discussing preventive measures against flies, mosquitoes, and other pests that can harm your horse. Your veterinarian can recommend fly sprays, fly sheets, and mosquito repellents to keep these pests at bay during the warmer days.

If your horse needs any dental work or chiropractic adjustments, the veterinarian will be able to perform these procedures or refer you to a specialist. It’s always better to address these issues before the riding season begins, as they can affect your horse’s performance and overall comfort.

Remember to check the expiration dates on your horse’s medications, including wormers and vaccines, and ensure they are up-to-date. Also, make sure you have an adequate supply of first aid kits and other medical supplies on hand in case of emergencies.

By scheduling a veterinary check-up and addressing any health concerns beforehand, you can ensure that your horse is in top shape for the riding season. Taking these preventative measures will help maintain a healthy and happy horse throughout the summer.

Check Hooves and Schedule Farrier Services

Springtime is the perfect opportunity to give your horse’s hooves some extra care and attention. As the days get longer and the weather warms up, it’s important to check for any cracks, chips, or signs of disease in your horse’s hooves. Schedule a visit with your farrier to ensure that your horse’s hooves are in good shape and ready for the riding season.

Especially if your horse has been standing in a stall or a muddy paddock over the winter, their hooves may need some extra cleaning and maintenance. Use a hoof pick to remove any dirt or debris from the hooves, and then apply a hoof conditioner to keep the hooves moisturized and healthy.

While you’re checking your horse’s hooves, it’s also a good time to assess their overall hoof health. Look for any signs of lameness, such as tenderness or swelling, and check the angles and balance of the hooves. If you notice any issues, consult with your farrier or veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment.

In addition to regular farrier visits, consider providing your horse with a balanced diet that includes minerals and nutrients for hoof health. Some horses may benefit from supplements that contain ingredients like biotin, copper, and zinc to support strong hooves.

Remember that prevention is key to keeping your horse’s hooves healthy and sound. Providing a clean and dry environment for your horse, regular exercise, and proper hoof care are all essential.

Evaluate Your Horse’s Diet

As the warmer days of springtime approach, it’s time to start preparing your horse for the riding season. One important aspect of horse care is evaluating their diet to ensure their nutritional needs are being met. Without proper feeding, your horse’s health and condition can suffer, making it harder for them to perform well when riding.

Check Your Horse’s Body Condition Score

Before you make any changes to your horse’s diet, it’s important to assess their body condition score. Use the three-step Henneke Scale to determine if your horse is underweight, overweight, or in the ideal condition. This will help you understand if your horse needs to gain or lose weight before the riding season begins.

Consider Metabolic Concerns

Some horses are prone to metabolic issues, such as insulin resistance or equine metabolic syndrome. If your horse falls into this category, you’ll need to be extra careful with their diet to prevent any metabolic flare-ups. Decreasing the amount of sugars and starches in their feed and increasing their access to forage can help manage these conditions.

Review Feeding Recommendations

If you’ve been following a feeding program for your horse, now is a good time to review and adjust it if needed. Keep in mind that a horse’s nutritional needs may change as they age, train, or undergo changes in activity level. Consult with your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist to ensure you’re providing the right balance of nutrients for your horse’s health and performance.

Wash and Refresh Water and Feed Buckets

Spring brings warmer weather, which means bacteria can multiply more quickly in water and feed buckets. To prevent any health hazards, take the time to thoroughly wash and disinfect all buckets and containers. This will help keep your horse’s water and feed clean and fresh, reducing the risk of illness.

Ensure Proper Protection against Flies

As the weather gets warmer, flies start to appear in greater numbers. These annoying insects can cause significant stress to your horse and may even lead to wounds from constant stomping and rubbing. Make sure to have a fly protection program in place, including fly masks, fly sheets, and fly spray, to keep your horse comfortable and fly-free during the spring riding season.

Assess Equipment and Tack

Before you begin riding in the warmer days of spring, it’s important to assess your equipment and tack to ensure everything is in good condition and ready to use. Follow these tips to get your equipment in top shape:

1. Clean and Organize

Start by cleaning and organizing your equipment. Remove any dust, dirt, or oils that may have accumulated during the off-season. This will not only help extend the life of your equipment but also create a clutter-free environment in your tack room or storage area.

2. Check for Wear and Tear

Inspect your equipment for any signs of wear and tear. Look for loose stitching, cracked leather, or worn-out parts. Address any issues before you start riding to ensure your equipment is safe and effective.

3. Assess Saddle Fit

Check the fit of your saddle on your horse’s back. Make sure it’s not causing any discomfort or pressure points. If needed, make adjustments or consult a professional saddle fitter to ensure proper alignment and balance.

4. Evaluate Bridles and Bits

Examine your bridles and bits for any signs of damage or rust. Replace worn-out parts or clean and oil them for smooth action. Ensure that the bit is the correct size and type for your horse’s needs.

5. Inspect the Hoof Care System

5. Inspect the Hoof Care System

Take a look at your horse’s hoof care system, including shoes, pads, and hoof boots. Ensure that they are in good condition and properly fitted. Schedule a farrier appointment if necessary to maintain your horse’s hoof health.

6. Create a Tack Cleaning Schedule

To keep your equipment in great condition, create a regular tack cleaning schedule. This will help prevent dirt buildup and extend the lifespan of your tack. Regularly wipe down surfaces, check and tighten screws, and apply leather conditioning products as needed.

7. Assess Fly Protection

As the warmer days arrive, it’s essential to have a fly protection system in place. Check if your fly masks, fly sheets, and fly sprays are ready for use. Replace any worn-out or damaged items to ensure your horse remains comfortable and protected from flies and other pests.

8. Review First Aid Supplies

Take some time to go through your first aid supplies and make sure everything is up to date. Stock up on any items that need replenishing, such as wound ointments, bandages, or medications. Having a well-stocked first aid kit is essential for any equine emergency that may arise.

9. Check Trailer and Truck

If you’ll be transporting your horse to events or shows, don’t forget to check your trailer and truck. Inspect the tires, lights, brakes, and hitch to ensure they are in good working condition. Clean out any dust or debris and organize the trailer for easy access to essentials.

10. Assess Pasture and Stalls

Before turnout season, assess your pastures and stalls for any hazards or needed repairs. Check the fencing for any loose wires or broken panels and repair them promptly. Ensure that your horse’s living environment is safe and secure.

11. Evaluate Feed and Nutrition

Take a close look at your horse’s nutritional needs and make any necessary adjustments in their feed and supplements. Consider the change in activity levels and adjust their diet accordingly. Ensure that they have access to fresh water, high-quality forage, and balanced feed to support their overall health, especially if they’re underweight or have specific metabolic conditions.

By taking the time to assess your equipment and tack before the riding season begins, you’ll ensure that everything is in proper working order and ready to use. This will make your riding experience smoother and help keep your horse happy and healthy.

Review Training and Conditioning

Review Training and Conditioning

As the warmer weather approaches, it’s time to start thinking about getting your horse back into action. After several weeks of downtime during the winter months, it’s important to gradually bring them back into shape before you begin any strenuous riding or training activities. Here are some tips to help ensure your horse is ready for the riding season:

  1. Check your horse’s calendar: Review past events and take notes on what worked well and what didn’t. This will help you plan your training program and ensure you’re on the right track.
  2. Get a veterinary checkup: Schedule a visit with your equine veterinarian to get your horse examined. They can help identify any health issues or concerns that need to be addressed before you start training.
  3. Assess your horse’s body condition score: Take a close look at your horse’s body condition and determine if any changes need to be made to their feeding program. Make sure they’re getting the right amount of hay, grain, and essential minerals.
  4. Review your horse’s feeding program: Evaluate the type and quantity of food your horse is currently receiving. Consider adding supplements such as Omega-3 oils or electrolytes if needed.
  5. Check your horse’s tack and grooming supplies: Inspect your equipment for any signs of wear or damage. Replace any outdated or expired products, and make sure you have everything you need for grooming and tacking up.
  6. Inspect your facilities and fences: Walk around your barn, arena, and pasture to check for any potential hazards or repairs that need to be made. Fix any broken fences, remove trash or debris, and ensure the gates and doors are in good working order.
  7. Gradually increase exercise: Start by exercising your horse on the ground, such as lunging or longlining, to gauge their fitness level. Then, gradually increase the intensity and duration of their workouts.
  8. Keep an eye on the ground conditions: If you’re riding in an arena or pasture, make sure the footing is safe and suitable for your horse. Remove any rocks or gravel that could cause injury.
  9. Fly control matters: As the weather gets warmer, flies and other pests become more prevalent. Make sure you have a plan in place to keep your horse comfortable and protected.
  10. Review your training goals: Take the time to revisit your training goals and set new ones for the upcoming season. Break them down into smaller, achievable steps to keep yourself and your horse motivated.
  11. Learn the essentials of springtime grooming: Brush up on your grooming skills and make sure you have all the tools and products you need to keep your horse looking their best.

By following these tips, you can ensure that both you and your horse are ready for the upcoming riding season. Remember to take it slow and listen to your horse’s needs, and you’ll be off to a great start!

Prepare Your Horse’s Living Environment

Before the spring riding season kicks into full gear, it’s important to make sure that your horse’s living environment is ready for the increased activity. Here are 9 tips to get the stalls and station area ready:

1. Clean and adjust the stalls: Take the time to thoroughly clean the stalls and make any necessary adjustments. Check for dust and cobwebs, and ensure that the bedding is clean and comfortable.

2. Stock up on essentials: Before the riding season begins, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand. This includes grooming kits, tacking equipment, and any supplements or medication that your horse may need.

3. Check the hooks and furniture: Make sure that all hooks and furniture in the station area are secure and in good condition. Replace any broken or damaged items to keep your horse safe.

4. Wash your horse: Give your horse a thorough wash, especially if they’ve been stuck in the stalls all winter. This will remove any dirt and bring out their natural shine.

5. Ensure proper feeding: Check your horse’s feeding program and adjust it as needed. If your horse has been overweight or underweight, consult with your veterinarian to develop a feeding plan that brings them to a healthy weight.

6. Get a veterinarian checkup: Schedule a checkup with your veterinarian to ensure that your horse is in good health. This is especially important if they haven’t had a checkup in several months.

7. Call the farrier: Make an appointment with your farrier to have your horse’s hooves trimmed and any necessary adjustments made. Don’t skip this step, as proper hoof care is essential for your horse’s well-being.

8. Check the jumps and equipment: Inspect your jumping equipment to ensure that it’s in good working condition. Clean and repair any items that need attention, and make sure all safety features are in place.

9. Consider chiropractic and animal chiropractic work: If your horse has been out of work or had a long winter break, consider having a chiropractic or animal chiropractic adjustment done. This can help align their limbs and ensure they’re ready for the increased activity.

By following these tips and taking action before the riding season starts, you can ensure that your horse’s living environment is ready and that they’re set up for success during the spring riding season.

Get Your Horse Ready for Spring With These 8 Tips

As spring approaches, it’s time to start preparing your horse for the riding season. Here are eight essential tips to get your horse ready and ensure their health:

1. Grooming

Grooming is an important part of horse care. Start by brushing your horse’s coat to remove any loose hair and dirt. This not only helps to keep their coat healthy but also allows you to visually inspect their skin for any signs of disease or injuries.

2. Checkup

2. Checkup

Before the riding season begins, it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian. A thorough examination will ensure that your horse is in good health and ready for the upcoming activities.

3. Dental Care

Don’t forget about your horse’s teeth! Regular dental checkups and floating will help prevent dental issues and ensure proper chewing and digestion. This is especially important if your horse will be eating more fresh pasture grass during the spring.

4. Hoof Care

Having their hooves in good shape is essential for your horse’s well-being. Schedule a visit from a farrier to trim or shoe your horse if needed. Regular hoof maintenance helps prevent lameness and other issues that may arise from uneven wear.

5. Tack Check

Check your tack for any signs of wear and tear. Make sure that all straps, buckles, and stitching are intact and functional. Replace any equipment that is damaged or no longer safe for use. This will ensure that both you and your horse are comfortable and safe during rides.

6. Nutrition

Spring brings about changes in your horse’s nutritional needs. Create a feeding program that takes into account their metabolic needs and the increased activity level. Consider supplementing with electrolytes to ensure proper hydration, especially during warmer days.

7. Pasture Access

If your horse has been kept in a stall during the winter, gradually introduce them to pasture access. This helps prevent issues like colic and metabolic disorders due to sudden changes in diet. Monitor their condition closely and adjust their diet accordingly.

8. Fly Control

As the weather gets warmer, insects like mosquitoes and flies become more active. Install fly sprays and fly masks to protect your horse from annoying bugs. Having a fly control program in place will keep your horse comfortable during rides and events.

By following these eight tips, you’ll have your horse ready for the spring riding season. Remember that each horse is unique, so it’s important to tailor your care plan to their specific needs. Happy riding!

Start Slowly

Start Slowly

As the weather gets warmer and riding season approaches, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your horse’s exercise. This will help prevent injuries and allow your horse to adjust to the changing conditions.

Here are some tips on how to start slowly:

1. Evaluate your horse’s health

Before you start riding, it’s important to give your horse a thorough examination. This will help you identify any health issues that may need attention before you start exercising your horse.

2. Check the teeth

Make sure your horse’s teeth are in good condition. Dental maintenance is important for proper digestion and overall health.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

If your horse is underweight, gradually increase their feed to help them gain weight. You can supplement their diet with high-quality hay, grains, and supplements if needed.

4. Provide extra protection

As the weather gets warmer, your horse may need additional protection from flies, bugs, and bacteria. Using fly masks, fly sheets, and fly spray can help keep them comfortable and healthy.

5. Protect their limbs

Make sure your horse’s legs are protected from injuries. Use leg wraps or boots when riding to provide extra support and prevent accidents.

6. Create a maintenance schedule

Set a schedule for regular maintenance tasks such as deworming, vaccinations, and farrier visits.

7. Clear the clutter

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home – it’s also important for your horse’s living space. Clear out any trash or clutter in the barn or stalls to create a clean and safe environment.

8. Check your equipment

Inspect your riding equipment, including saddles, bridles, and leg protection. Make sure everything is in good condition and fits your horse properly.

9. Check the storage

Go through your storage area and get rid of any old or expired products. Make sure everything is organized and easily accessible for when you need it.

10. Gradually increase exercise time

Start with shorter rides and gradually increase the riding time to build up your horse’s fitness level. This will help prevent injuries and keep them in good shape.

11. Protect their hooves

Spring can bring muddy and wet conditions, which can be hard on your horse’s hooves. Maintain a regular hoof care routine and consider using hoof boots or applying a protective hoof paint.

By following these tips and starting slowly, you can ensure that your horse is ready for the riding season and stays in good health throughout the year.


How important is it to prepare the pasture before riding season?

Preparing the pasture before riding season is crucial for the health and well-being of your horse. Proper pasture management ensures that your horse has access to fresh, nutritious grass and reduces the risk of injury or illness from overgrazed or toxic plants.

What steps should I take to prepare the pasture?

To prepare the pasture, start by checking the fencing for any damage and repairing it if necessary. Remove any debris or clutter from the pasture, such as fallen branches or rocks. Evaluate the grass and soil conditions and consider fertilizing or reseeding if needed. Implement rotational grazing to allow the grass to recover and prevent overgrazing.

How often should I rotate my horse’s grazing areas?

The frequency of rotating your horse’s grazing areas depends on several factors such as the size of the pasture, the number of horses, and the grass growth rate. As a general guideline, it is recommended to rotate every 4-6 weeks, or when the grass is around 4-6 inches tall. This allows the grass to recover and ensures that your horse has access to fresh, nutritious pasture at all times.

What should I do if there are toxic plants in the pasture?

If you identify toxic plants in your pasture, it is crucial to remove them immediately to protect your horse’s health. Contact your local agricultural extension office or a veterinarian for guidance on identifying and removing toxic plants. In some cases, it may be necessary to fence off certain areas or use herbicides to control the plants.

Should I consider providing supplemental feed for my horse during the riding season?

Providing supplemental feed for your horse during the riding season depends on the quality and quantity of the pasture. If the pasture is not able to meet your horse’s nutritional needs, consider offering supplemental feed such as hay, grain, or a formulated horse feed. Consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to determine the appropriate type and amount of feed for your horse.

How can I prepare my horse for the riding season?

To prepare your horse for the riding season, you should start by giving them a thorough health check, including dental and veterinary exams. You should also gradually increase their exercise and conditioning to get them back in shape for riding. It’s important to evaluate the horse’s diet and adjust it as necessary. Additionally, checking and organizing your riding equipment and ensuring your horse’s tack is clean and in good condition is crucial. Lastly, make sure to review and update your horse’s training and refresh their ground manners if needed.

What should I consider when it comes to pasture for my horse?

When it comes to pasture for your horse, you should consider the quality and quantity of the grass. The pasture should have a good balance of nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals. Avoid pastures with toxic plants, and ensure that there is enough grazing space for each horse. The pasture should also have access to clean water and provide adequate shade and shelter. Regularly rotating and resting pastures can help prevent overgrazing and maintain the health of the grass. Additionally, it’s important to regularly monitor the pasture for signs of parasites and take appropriate measures for control if necessary.

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