For months, you’ve been planning on re-organising your feed room, getting your rugs cleaned in time for winter, and having a mass unused tack clear-out — but there just never seems to be enough hours in the day.
It’s enough of a struggle keeping on top of the daily jobs you need to do to keep your horse ticking over. Well, here are a few time saving horse care tips to make life at the yard run that little bit more smoothly…
1. Sharing jobs
Sharing jobs with a friend will greatly reduce the time you need to spend at the yard. For example, you could do the morning feed and turnout both your horses, in return for her bringing in and doing the evening feed. You can even arrange things so you get to have the odd weekend lie-in…
2. Keep your horse out
It’s not for everyone or every horse, or an option at every livery yard, but grass-kept horses save bags of time in mucking out, bringing in and turning out.
3. Baby oil
Baby oil in your horse’s tail will stop mud and dust sticking to it and save time grooming.
4. Make up all haynets in advance
Do this at the weekend, perhaps, when you’re not quite so time-starved. It’s much quicker to blitz it than to try and do one at a time when you’re already in a rush.
5. Do the same with feeds
Make each one up in a closed plastic box, such as an old ice-cream tub, so it can quickly be tipped into a bucket and fed as required. This does however require a fair few tubs and some storage space, but even doing three days’ worth in one go will prove a time-saver.
6. Use a hose to fill water buckets
Don’t risk putting your back out lugging heavy water buckets across the yard – invest in a long hose so you can fill your water bucket in your stable instead. Safer and quicker.
7. Keep a change of clothes and boots in your car/at the yard
If you need to rush straight from work to the yard, it’s always worth keeping a spare set of scruffy clothes to change in to, so your work stuff doesn’t smell of horse. Always keep boots at the yard, too.
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8. Get a sharer
If your horse could benefit from more exercise than you’re able to give him, or you’re just really time-short, a sharer could be the answer. They get to ride your horse in return for set chores such as mucking out, turning out and poo-picking. Everyone’s a winner.
9. Invest in decent grooming equipment
There’s loads of cheap ‘n’ cheerful grooming equipment available – the problem is that a lot of it isn’t very efficient at getting the job done, just as a cheap plastic comb isn’t as efficient at untangling human hair as a proper salon-style brush. Spend a bit more on decent brushes – your diary and horse will thank you.
10. Get rubber matting for your stable
Again, this requires some investment up front, as rubber mats are fairly expensive, but they mean you’ll only need a small bed for your horse in the stable, saving a lot of time (and money) on mucking out.
11. Tack wipes
These are a cheat’s way of getting tack looking sparkly without spending ages polishing away. A quick once-over, job done. They’re no substitute for a proper deep tack clean, but means you don’t need to do those so often.