It’s been a mild, wet winter so far and as our fields gradually turn into seas of liquid mud, this means one thing for many horse owners — restricted turnout. Or possibly no turnout at all. Some horses don’t mind — others, well, they do mind. They mind a lot. Here’s some things you may well be discovering if your horse is currently ‘enjoying’ restricted turnout.

1. Nothing is indestructible

It’s a lesson we all learn sooner or later — but in your case, it’s sooner, and instead of being a deep message about the nature of our very existence, it specifically refers to the buckets, rugs and (allegedly) indestructible toys your horse has whiled away those long hours in his stable annihilating. If he applied his genius to winning rosettes instead of destroying stuff, you could really clean up.

2. Poo can be a really fun toy

For your horse, that is. Not for you (we hope). But as you remove it from his waterbucket, the grilles on his window, and the countless places he’s buried it round his stable, it strikes you that he’s got really creative with the stuff. Like an equine version of Mister Maker. Only with poo. Weird.

Continued below…

3. Mucking out is a never-ending task

Those heady days of summer when he lived out 24/7 now seem like a blissful dream. Remember how you’d skip round the field, poo-picking for 10 minutes a day — job done? So why does it now take you about an hour each day just to remove the wheelbarrowfuls of the stuff he seems to be producing from his stable? How is he pooing so much? It can’t be normal… can it? Although that’s better than if he stops pooing — then you really are in trouble.

4. The weather app on your phone is your worst enemy

Every time you look at the thing, it shows you a picture of a black cloud with a raindrop coming out of it. Forever. You can almost feel the tiny weatherman in your phone giving you a smug grin. “Your boy’s not going out yet,” he seems to whisper. “Why don’t you take him out for a lovely relaxing ride?” Talking of which…

5. Schooling is suddenly really, really exciting

After days of confinement, your horse is fresh. So fresh. What a great time to practise your passage! Admittedly you only asked for working trot, but he’s giving you passage. And now you’re in flat out gallop in a 20×40 school. Who knew that was even possible?

6. And as for hacking…

We strongly recommend a neckstrap!