Ahh frosty mornings and dark evenings.. Just what we love about Winter right? I’m guessing for most of you that is a no but for me, I like Winter. It means that mucking out is not sticky and hot, I can actually ride my lazy horse without sweating buckets and I wear all the lovely equestrian clothing that I own! Who can relate?
As many of your horse owners will know, horses live around a routine and for most, it is the same day in and day out. This does however, change when the weather changes! So here I bring to you all my horses new Winter routine, I hope you enjoy!
So my day starts around 6am. Well, usually 6.15am by the time I have snoozed my alarm and managed to drag myself out of bed! I have recently moved in with my boyfriend and his family and I am really lucky to be able to keep both Buddy and Adie here too with their three mares! I never thought in a million years that I would be able to roll out of bed and walk out to my own horses in my wellies and PJ’s before work and watch them in the field while I eat my breakfast! But, thankfully I can and I will be forever grateful for this.
On that note, let’s get down to the dirt.. Literally!
By around 6.30am I have chucked my wellies on and I am heading out the back door straight on to the yard and of course, the horses are waiting with their heads over the door for their breakfast! Buddy and Adie are first to go out into the field as in the Winter the horses are on a rotation in the paddocks and I turn them out with a section of hay each on the floor. Before however, they have to be changed from their PJ’s into their turnout rugs! In the thick of Winter both of my horses wear medium weight rugs with a neck and I find these very versatile if I have limited time and need to leave them on over night. Currently, both of the boys are wearing the Equidoor medium weight turnout rug in navy and white check and they look super cute – Keeping the matchy matchy!
Once the horses have been turned out I get straight into mucking out their stables before I go to work. Luckily, Buddy is really clean so it doesn’t take too long to do his stable. Adie on the other hand, is gross! They are both on the Hunter’s shavings with rubber matting and I do a full muck out daily which takes me around 5-10 minutes per stable including doing the waters. I also then like to hang up their PJ’s on their rug racks in their stables ready for bed time. It is around 7.30am by the time I have finished on the yard so this means it is now time to get ready and leave for work at 8.00am.
Both of my horses come in from the field at around lunchtime during the Winter months and during the week my boyfriends parents kindly bring them in for me and hang up a full haynet of hay that I have pre-made for them. Buddy has around 3 sections of hay and Adie has 2. Their stables are opposite each other so they can see each other while the other three horses go out in the fields and their stables are large and spacious so they can move around freely. Buddy even has his own spy window out the back of the yard!
By around 5pm all of the horses are back in their stables and while the other three horses get their haynets mine get another section of hay each on the floor so they aren’t left out or left without any food in their tummies! I usually get home around 5.30pm and after having a quick chat and a cuppa with the family I chuck my jodz on and head out onto the yard. In the Winter months it is dark by the time I get home so I cannot ride out on Buddy but I will either give them a groom or do something with them in the menage. I usually skip out both stables and if it is a day I am not doing much with them I put them out in the menage together to stretch their legs. I then change their rugs to their PJ’s for the evening and of course, pick out their tootsies! Lots of cuddles and kisses required for both of them at this time too!
As my boyfriend doesn’t usually get home until late I will shower and wait for him to get in before having dinner but after my shower is feed time for the horses. At around 7pm they get their hard feed. Both of my horses are fed on Spillers Happy Hoof which is a complete feed with a scoop of garlic powder and Omega Vitality. Also, in the Winter months I soak some Allen & Page Veteran Lite for Buddy and Allen & Page Calm and Condition for Adie to bulk their feed up and give them the vitamins and nutrients they need. I will then go inside for dinner with Alex and chill for a bit!
The horses get their last feed at around 10pm and get shut up for bed properly. Both of mine will get slightly larger haynets for bed time which ‘should’ last them through the night but lets face it, it never does! I also wash out their feed buckets ready for the next day. Then it is cuddles all round, a few treats and lights out for bed until the next day when we repeat again the next day!
At the weekends the horses routine doesn’t really change too much apart from everything starts just a tad later in the morning! I will also do what I can to help out my boyfriend’s mum with her three horses and I will also attempt to get my wheelbarrow through the mud to poo pick the paddock!
I like to hack Buddy out at least one day on the weekend and sometimes my boyfriend will join me on one of his horses which is really nice.
I have come up with a few tips when preparing and prepping for the Winter that will help your routine go that little bit quicker and smoother:
- Invest in a head-torch. Not everyone has great lighting at the yard.. Luckily, we have great lighting but a head-torch never goes to miss if you need to go to the field to search for a missing shoe or piece of rug! Also, some Winter mornings can be dark so it is great to have one if you need to turn your horses out first thing before the sun rises.
- Make sure you have your rug ready to just chuck on in the morning so you can turn out quickly. If the rug is wet the night before, leave it on your horse over night and their body heat will dry it. This not only makes turning out in the morning that little bit faster but also prevents putting a wet rug on your horse.
- Pre-make haynets and hard feeds ready for the next day. This saves so much time especially if you have to soak feeds.
- Make sure you dump all muck from your wheelbarrow so it is clear for the morning. There is nothing like having to dump your muck before you can even get started!
- If you have limited time or wake up late in the morning instead of mucking out, skip out the poo and leave the wee until later. If your horses come in, they wont trample in the poo that they did the night before and it makes mucking out after work that little quicker in the dark.
- Hosing the mud off of your horses legs is a great idea but can lead to skin issues. Simply let the mud dry and then brush off, or turn out in the menage and the sand will do the hard work for you and remove the mud.
So here you have it, my horses Winter routine! I am sure yours is pretty similar but if not and you have tweaked yours or used any of my tips and it works for you I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Likewise, if you have any tips or tricks to make my routine better, I am all ears! Happy Winter horse loving guys!
Thank you for reading, until next time..