Caring for your horse after a ride

When you’ve been for a ride, you will still have many important jobs to do when it comes to cleaning your tack and caring for your horse.  Understanding your responsibilities will ensure your horse continues to be happy, healthy and that you take proper care of him. This all constitutes good horsemanship!
Going out for a ride is just part of the experience – make sure you’ve also got time for what comes afterwards!

From drinking plenty of clean water, to cleaning down your riding gear, removing your saddle, cooling him and grooming, going out for a ride with your horse is just part of the experience.  You will have much to do when you get back!

He needs to cool down

The first thing you need to do when you get back from a ride, is to loosen the reins and walk him around so that he can cool down, particularly if you’ve been cantering or jumping.  Horses that have worked hard deserve a bit of time to cool.  We recommend that you walk him for around 10 to 15 minutes.

Walk your horse around for at least 10 to 15 minutes to cool him down.

Once you have given him time to cool down, dismount and loosen the girth and remove his bridle, and then replace it with a halter and lead shank if you are walking him around.

Saddle Fitting Guide

Clean your tack, ie: to remove saddle sweat, mud, water etc, so that it’s clean and usable next time. Do spend time doing this as it will preserve your kit and ensure it remains in good working order.

horse caring

Give him a good groom

When you have removed your saddle and girth, etc, you can start to groom your horse.  Bearing in mind you should have checked and groomed your horse before your ride, after-grooming is a bit different and shouldn’t take as long, ie: you will probably not need to brush him as much.

You may need to hose your horse’s legs down and belly to remove any mud or grime.  If your horse is sweaty, a sponge-down around the saddle area may be required.  This is particularly important on hot days.  You may even consider a complete hose down if you think he needs it! 

When he has cooled down entirely, he can go into his paddock or stable. Many people like to turn their horse out into the paddock for a short time (15 to 30 minutes), before they are stabled for the night.  This mean he can eat some grass, roll about and generally move about without a saddle.

Give him a drink

He will need plenty of water to drink when he’s been riding, to prevent dehydration.  Encourage him to drink as much as he needs.  If he wants a whole bucket of water – that’s absolutely fine.

A horse can lose up to 2-4 gallons of sweat per hour if it’s hot and he’s worked hard. 

Wait before you feed him grain

Grass and hay can be offered after a ride immediately, but wait around an hour if you are giving him grain.  Your horse has a delicate digestive system and you must be sure that he has cooled down before he eats, as he could develop health related issues such as colic.

caring after ride

Finally, don’t forget to check for any obvious injuries when you return from a ride – you will soon know if your horse is uncomfortable or uneasy.  Any issues should be dealt with immediately.

John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit.  The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI).  Combining superior quality with exceptional performance,  the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.

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