Submitted by Steve on 13:22, 19th Nov, 2014 | 0

The last few Winters have been extremely wet and the GSPCA each year we receive large number of calls from concerned members of public about horses and other animals in wet and muddy fields.

Unfortunately due to the current wet autumn we are having to endure here in Guernsey we want to help prepare those with animals in fields.

Sarah Creasey GSPCA Animal Welfare and education Officer said "Last Winter we had long sustained very wet periods with many animals are being affected."

"Lorna Prince the Animal Welfare Manager were kept very busy checking animals in wet and muddy conditions."

"If anyone is concerned about an animal’s condition then they can call the GSPCA on 01481 257261 and we will look into it, but we have placed a little advice to help horse, donkey and pony owners on our web site and a link to other Winter advice."

"Calls from 2011 to 2012 about animals in wet fields went up 200% during the Winter and we received a similar number last Winter, but we are hoping by following this advice we can prevent a similar occurrence."

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "This time of year is often challenging for livestock, horse, pony and donkey owners with many preparing for the short days and wet conditions."

"In muddy conditions it is extremely important that a horse has an adequately sized, well-drained area in the pasture on which to stand and lie down, and on which to be fed and watered."

"At the GSPCA we are really concerned about the animals out when we have awful weather and we do sympathise with the owners."

"With Winter drawing in again, we would like to remind owners of horses, ponies and donkeys what you can do to help your animals."

Wet Winters prove a challenge for horses, ponies and their owners. Animals that live outside must cope with everything the weather can throw at them, and owners must ensure that the extra care and attention is given to these animals.

You may be surprised at how well horses can adapt to colder weather. Although horses have been domesticated for over 6000 years in the wild, horses can withstand temperatures at well below zero. However, there are a number of things that you can do to maximize your horse's health and condition during the colder months

With short days and cold long evenings and wet weather you have to think about the following -

  • Has your field got natural or adequate shelter and space?
  • Does your horse have company and/or enough of your time?
  • Have you got a good supply of extra feed for the cold month?
  • Are you registered with a local veterinary practice and farrier?
  • Do you know what your donkeys, ponies or horse's normal behaviour is like and the animals health?

You need to ensure a good working routine. Work out how you will manage to care for your horse in these very wet cold months and make sure you can fit your horse's care into your day or you have someone to help assist you.

If you are cannot devote more time to your horse's care during the winter wet months, consider keeping your horse at full livery, where there is adequate winter turnout and a high standard of daily care.

In muddy conditions it is important to provide adequately sized, well-drained area where possible or  look at other alternatives.

Short days add to the complication of winter care. Make your first visit to your horse each day as early in the morning as you can. If there is a problem, you can call for assistance in daylight.

There are a real variety of different rugs on the market to suit all types of donkeys, horses and ponies. Rain sheets are also available to offer a protection from wind or rain and there are thicker rugs also available and it is best to ensure you use the right rug for your animal(s).

If you plan to ride your horse in winter, beware of getting your horse sweated up in the afternoon as horses can easily catch a chill.  Also ensure that you and your horse have appropriate clothing to ensure that you are able to clearly be seen.

Make arrangements with an experienced person to take care of your horse in the event of an emergency, for example if you are ill, delayed or cut off by bad weather.  A starting place could be one of the local groups or clubs who will have a network of experienced owners.

More than anything you MUST remember that your horse needs you.

If you need further advice you can call the GSPCA on 01481 257261

For more information on animal winter advice please go to

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