6 Dec 2010

Heavy snow and ice forces cancellations


Shows have been cancelled all over Essex today, as many organisers have felt that the roads are too dangerous to travel on.
Show organisers have told Essex riders that safety is paramount, and have warned not to travel as roads are hazardous.
A thick coating over snow over the county has frozen when temperatures have dropped; making conditions unsafe for horses, especially as there are reports of black ice on roads.
If you are worried about how this weather may affect you and your horse, The Blue Cross has released some helpful advice on how to stay safe this winter.
A recent spate of accidents where horses have got stuck in ditches while foraging for food has highlighted the dangers of the cold, wet months.
Blue Cross equine welfare director, Kerstin Alford, said: “We are warning horse owners to be particularly vigilant this winter as the onset of wet and muddy conditions can create unexpected hazards.”
Their top tips for horse owners include:
  • Check boundary fencing and hedging thoroughly every week, especially near ditches and roads. As hedges lose their foliage in the winter they may need reinforcing.
  • If you are using electric fencing check your battery power daily and have a spare, recharged battery at the ready.
  • Remember that dry, empty ditches in the summer can turn into wet, boggy hazards in the winter. The same applies to recently dug ditches which could be steep and slippery. If in doubt, fence them off safely and securely.
  • A stream or ditch should not be the only water source for your horse but if there is one in the field, remember they can become treacherous in winter weather. Make sure there is a safe entrance and exit, monitor regularly and ensure the fencing on the other side of the water is maintained.
  • Become familiar with roadside ditches when you are riding so that you can think ahead and stay safe.
  • Expose your horse to a variety of terrains to help them become more sure-footed.
  • Make sure your horse is checked properly at least twice a day, every day and in all weathers.

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