When the rain is driving down and you’re sliding through mud to catch your horse who is wearing a drenched turnout rug, it’s easy to question why it was such a good idea to own a horse at all. But with our five tips for staying sane in the rain, miserable winter weather can be bearable.
1. Lay down hardcore
To avoid fields becoming poached, lay down hardcore in the gate area. A cheaper option is to lay down stable mats, or fence off the gateway so horses don’t always wait in the same area.
2. Invest in a Hay Hutch
A lot of hay is wasted in muddy fields, as it gets trampled. A Hay Hutch (www.hay-hutch.com) contains hay in a robust plastic feeder with apertures, designed to prevent hay wastage and damage to pasture.
3. Check for rain scald
If your horse is not rugged up, keep an eye on his skin to check he is not suffering from rain scald. If he is susceptible to the condition, prevent it by putting rugs on and ensuring there is a field shelter so that he can escape from the rain. Robert Ibbotson of Robinson Animal Healthcare recommends an antibacterial wash, such as Activ Wash, as an essential item in your winter first-aid kit (www.robinsonhealthcare.com). “It can be used to treat mud fever or rain scald, or prevent them when used regularly as a shampoo on horses that are prone,” he says.
4. Make a plan for drying rugs
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5. Use your time wisely
Talking of rugs, “rainy days” are a good opportunity to wash and mend all your summer rugs, and deep clean the tack and tidy your tack room while there are fewer competitions keeping you from the yard.