With shorter days and darker nights, winter can feel like you’re constantly running out of time. If you’re fed up of rushing to and from the yard, dealing with muddy horses, or trying to stay on top of everything, check out our time saving tips for equestrians.
Feed and Water
- Prepare haynets in advance ready for the week ahead. You might also want to use a larger or slow feeder net to save time filling multiple small nets for greedy eaters each day.
- Keep a tennis ball in water troughs to stop them freezing. If you’re caught out and they have already frozen, use a hammer and colander to remove the chunks of ice while keeping your hands warm and dry!
- Try long lining to keep your horse fit over winter and to protect the ground if you don’t have access to an arena.
- If you have more than one horse to exercise, give riding and leading a go. You’ll want to try this out in an enclosed space first and leading the better-behaved horse is usually easiest.
- Lunging is a good way to fit in a short schooling session. It’s an opportunity to evaluate how your horse is going and you can also work on building muscle with the help of training aids.
- A One Step Cleaner is a quick way to clean and condition your tack or harness. This way you can spend more time in the saddle rather than cleaning it!
- Or, if you want to skip cleaning leather tack altogether, a synthetic bridle like the Zilco Ultra Endurance Bridle only needs a wipe down with soapy water and rinse before it’s good to go.
- Before riding, remove any mud or dirt underneath where the tack will go. A rubber curry comb and dandy brush will usually make light work of this. Then, ignore how dirty the rest of your horse is and get out riding or driving!
- If you’re heading to any winter competitions, the Horsewise Water Free Shampoo is a great option for removing stains without having to get your horse wet.
- Depending on your horse’s workload, it might be a good idea to clip them. This will reduce how sweaty they get, saving you time washing, cooling and drying them after a ride.
- Set up for success. Try to arrange your supplies and yard in a logical order. If you find yourself constantly walking back and forth to get different things, see if you can organise them in the most time-effective route around the yard.
- Use a wheelbarrow to carry things around the yard or out to the field. If it saves you another trip that extra time will add up!
- A problem shared is a problem halved – ask around the yard to see if anyone would like to buddy up. Perhaps you can do mornings and they can do evenings so you only have to go to the yard once a day. Or, take it in turns to hold for farrier visits etc.
- A cooler rug is particularly useful in winter to help wick away moisture, cut down the drying time, and stop your horse getting chilled after exercise.
- Don’t let a little rain halt your plans! A waterproof exercise sheet will keep your horse dry while riding, lunging or driving, and there are even hi-vis options for riding on the roads. This way you won’t have to dry them out before you can rug up again.
Do you have any time saving winter tips to help fellow equestrians? Leave them as a comment below!
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