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"Horses in Winter" copyright Susan Smith

Winter Doldrums - November 2009 issue
A blanket of fresh snow on the ground, and icicles forming on your horses' manes may look beautiful, but may also send you back inside to wrap your hands around a mug of hot chocolate.
When the temps inch back up to tolerable (above 32 degrees?), consider instead exercising your horse, and yourself.

In winter, we may not get out to the barn other than to scrape frozen manure off the ground and feed, yet our horses are frisky and still need exercise. Older horses with arthritis need to get out frequently, even if for just an hour or two. Younger horses have a lot of energy that they need to expel.


Sometimes in winter, horses standing around mask other metabolic symptoms that don’t become evident until the spring, when we ride more. Limited movement can lead to stiff joints, weight problems and even colic and founder. In New Mexico, we don’t have many green pastures where horses can run at liberty, can reach down and snatch up mouthfuls of grass, stretching their spines in the process. Horses may become irritable or badly behaved – something to take note of. Are they tired of being confined or in pain?


Usually people call me to work on their horses when the weather is nice, when they either want me to address an injury, or maintain their horse for performance. If it’s too cold to ride, it may not seem like a great time to get bodywork.


Actually, it’s a great time to get bodywork – for you and your horse. Bodywork keeps body systems running smoothly, and supports health and movement. Bodywork is activity in itself and complements movement. If you notice when I work on your horse, he receives, then he wants to move around a bit, nibble some grass, integrate what has just happened. I do a little more, and repeat the process. He relaxes, sinks down into it, sometimes falls asleep, licks, chews, rests. He gets in touch with his body.


It’s a good time to get in touch with your own body too. Supporting the health resident in the system helps stave off cold weather illnesses. Mostly clients come and lie on the table, but you can sit up, walk around. It’s your time where you are not expected to perform. And don’t worry, you can come straight from the barn to my office.








Winter trails:
Caja del Rio
Cerrillos Hills
La Puebla


The Ortho-Bionomy is a registered trademark of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International , Inc. and is used with permission.
Contact Susan at (505) 983-2128 or