Roll up your sleeves: the jobs you need to do before the end of January

  • We don’t mean to nag, but there are a few chores that, in an ideal world, you’ll have done before February arrives...

    1. Reclip your horse

    It is said: “Clipping a horse in February is a really bad idea, as his summer coat will be starting to make an appearance and you’ll just go and ruin it by chopping off the tip of it.” However that is disputed — we’ll leave the final decision to you. Once your clipping duties for the season are complete, don’t go putting the blades away, only to get them out again in October and realise they’re completely blunt. Send them away to be sharpened now, and consider getting the clippers serviced while you’re at it.

    2. Clear out, clean up and cash in

    Let’s face it, we all have stuff we don’t need:
    ➤ The broken headcollar at the bottom of a trunk in the tackroom “just in case” it comes in handy one day — that day will never come
    ➤ Rugs that are no longer waterproof — proof them or sling them out
    ➤ Girths that have come unstitched — stitch or ditch them
    ➤ Take items you no longer need to the second-hand shop, car boot sale or sell them online
    ➤ Ensure your summer rugs are washed and repaired in preparation for use in a few months. There’s wishful thinking!

    3. Get geeky, get organised

    This is a fun chore. Really. Invest in a calendar, plan out your season and pin it in the tackroom. Or even better register for Equo and you can do it all on your phone. Get your competition hopes pencilled in, because if horses get wind of a championship they will throw a shoe at least (and we can hope for some form of competition this year, fingers crossed). Mark on your lessons, too. This is truly motivational stuff. Book the farrier, schedule your horse’s vaccinations and set reminders to worm him appropriately. You’ll feel super organised.

    4. Tend to your gateways

    Not quite so much fun, but your horse’s pasterns will thank you. Keeping your field gateways as dry as possible will help to fend off mud fever and thrush. Putting hardcore down prevents poaching, but recycling old shavings makes an economical alternative. You could try using electric fence to protect the gateway, although this may move the poached area a few metres back and exacerbate the problem. If you have an ongoing problem, seek professional advice in time for next year.

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