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Winter Survival Tips

It’s November which means the clocks have changed, the days are shorter and the weather is wetter and colder. It’s this time of year that a lot of us question why we have horses when we’re wading through mud in the middle of a storm, but there are things you can do to make winter a little more bearable

1. Icy water troughs

When the weather gets colder it’s likely that water troughs will freeze over. The ice needs to be broken so your horse can drink and the ice needs to be removed to stop it from refreezing. A lot of people will either stick their hands in and grab the ice blocks out quickly, this is the fastest way to give yourself frostbite. If you have an old sieve or colander, take that up to the field with you and use that to scoop out the ice. You’ll be able to remove the ice quickly and it’ll save your hands.

2. Having different gate options

Gateways tend to be the muddiest part of the fields. They are walked through more than any other part of the field and it’s where the horses will stand if they’re waiting to come in. If there’s a way that you can change the location of the gateway, this will help to save the ground. This could be by moving the fence line. Fencing off the immediate area around the gate or alternating which end of a fence you use as a gate. Reducing the mud in gateways will make it nicer for you and it will help the grass to recover faster in the spring.

3. Headtorches

I am always being fun of for this one, but I love a head torch! It gets dark so early in the winter that you end up doing a lot in the dark. You always seem to find yourself trying to carry everything and push a wheelbarrow or lead a horse with no spare hands to carry a torch. I bought a cheap rechargeable head torch, it’s made life so much easier and I don’t have to worry about where the light switch is, or dropping my phone.

4. Drying rugs

Wet, cold rugs are one of the worst things about winter. If I won the lottery I’d buy a heated rug dryer, but that’s unlikely to happen any time soon. The one thing on the yard that consistently gives off heat and is the perfect shape for a rug is your horse! As long as the rug hasn’t leaked and your horse isn’t cold then leaving the rug on them will allow it to dry out much faster than hanging it up. Make sure to take it off and replace it before turning your horse back out so there aren’t any pressure points.

5. Decent waterproofs

This may sound like a strange thing to say from a coach, but I hate getting wet when I coach. I don’t have a problem coaching in the rain as long as I’m dry under my coats. I don’t mind spending money on coats, gloves and waterproof trousers which will keep me dry. Winter is a lot less miserable if your coats aren’t soaked through.

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