This weekend the clocks change and suddenly those daylight hours with your horse’s will seem few and far between. If (like me) you’ve spent time over the summer getting your rugs sorted out, feed and tack room clean etc you’ll feel fairly prepared for the winter ahead. However when working full time, the Winter can seem like such a struggle and riding in the daylight becomes a challenge. To try and make the best use of time, and hopefully allow for a few extra minutes in the saddle, here are my top tips for saving time this winter.
- Make up multiple haynets at the weekend ready for the week ahead. Stumbling around the hay barn in the dark, trying to stuff hay in the nets when your in a rush isn’t fun for anyone. Make them up ready for Monday – Friday and it’ll be a quick case of grab and go every morning!
- Use pig oil or baby oil on your horse’s legs and tail (unless you are imminently plaiting!). Not only will this help with the muddy turnout, encouraging the mud and water to glide off, it will help prevent bedding sticking to your horse therefore saving you valuable grooming time.
- Make up multiple feeds ready for the week ahead. Okay, so you may not have enough buckets or storage space to make up the entire weeks feeds but even doing 2-3 days at a time can make a difference. I tend to ensure I have one day in the middle of the working week when I don’t ride and therefore can catch up on any jobs then if needed.
- Use stable matting and deep litter if this suits your horse. The stable matting makes mucking out quicker and easier no matter what bedding you choose. In the winter unless your horse is especially dirty then you may be able to get away with more of a skip out and to a certain extent go for a deep litter muck out method. For further info on this type of mucking out check out this handy article.
- Plan ahead and check the weather forecast! If you know you’re going to be in a rush in the morning we’re sure your horse won’t mind sleeping in his turnout rug so he’s ready for the next day. Checking the week’s weather and making sure you have rugs out ready to use saves valuable minutes in the morning and stops you trashing your tack room when trying to find the right rug when you’re in a rush! Schedule the best days for to you ride and minimise jobs on those days. That way you can still enjoy your winter riding without constant clock watching.
Hopefully these handy hints will make Winter with your horse a little easier and saving those valuable minutes mean you can enjoy a lovely hug with your horse as you put him to bed each evening!