Surviving the winter season

  • Scarlet Kulesza, a Suffolk-based event rider, can’t get through the winter without her: Newmarket exercise rug, Rambo rug, clipping, boiled barley, warm water tap, miner’s torch, disposable handwarmers, ski gloves, Barrier H cream, a fluffy girth sleeve, the thought of springtime competitions

    “I use a Newmarket exercise rug for freezing mornings. It stops my mare shivering and being stiff or cold-backed, and makes me look like I’m on a racehorse! I also use a Rambo rug to turn out that keeps her warm and dry.

    “I clip my horse out so that I don’t have to spend an hour brushing off mud while being being kicked. She hates dandy brushes so I’m stuck, and she looks a sight if she’s not clipped.

    “At dawn on a winter’s morning, I love coming into the kitchen to the smell of boiled barley, having cooked it overnight in the AGA.

    “Every year I’m given a batch of disposable handwarmers in my Christmas stocking, and they’re always used up by mid-January.

    “I have a warm water tap to hose off muddy legs after hunting, Barrier H cream to prevent mud fever, a miner’s torch to get to some stables that have no lights, ski gloves for really cold hacks and a fluffy girth sleeve to stop mud-chafing.

    “But the thought of competing in the springtime does help get me through.

    Life would be made easier if I had: “ear muffs. When I used to ride out at a national hunt yard in the depths of winter, the work riders used to have these amazing ear muffs. Arctic wind blasting round Lambourn always gave me earache, so I’d love some of those. Some floodlights wouldn’t go amiss either”.

    Jo Barry, dressage rider, SEA accredited coach and BD trainer, who is based in Edinburgh, says she can’t get through the winter without: Topspec feedbalancer, speedi-beet, Kraiburg rubber matting, a Teviot waterproof jacket and trouser combination

    “In the winter, I use Topspec feed balancer, which suits all horses; and Topspec conditioning flakes, which are great for keeping the weight on without overheating — a great help for fresh horses on cold winter mornings.

    “I also feed speedi-beet, which soaks in 10min. It’s handy during an already heavy winter routine.

    “The eight stables in our yard all have Kraiburg rubber matting on the floor, which really cuts down on the mucking out time; we also find it keeps the horses warm.

    “I’ve been wearing a Teviot waterproof jacket and trouser combination, which keeps out the cold, despite all the awful weather in Scotland, and is still easy to move around in when I am doing the stable work.

    Life would be made easier if I had: “a menage roof that could be taken off or put back on or a shower unit to wash muddy horses”.

  • This feature was first published in full in Horse & Hound (21 October 04). To purchase a back issue contact (tel: 020 8532 3628)

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