Don’t forget your Wellies….

Even in the temperate South, this winter has been the most frustrating riding season I can remember.   All of the paddocks are knee-deep in mud.  The arenas are almost always closed to protect them for future riding.  The perpetual rain makes turnout, for many horses, rare.   On top of the weather, the economy is putting the pinch on everyone.  If we are to make it, as a unified equine community, we must put our complaints aside, and hold out a little while longer for the sun to appear.   These conditions call for optimism on a unprecedented level.

On days that inclement weather prevents your horse’s turnout, it is a good idea to get to the barn and lunge or ride him anyway.  If the arena is unavailable, because of same inclement weather, hand walking will suffice to get your horse out of his stall for a while.  Horse’s digestive systems were not made for them to stand around for long periods of time.  This is not a reason for  you to call the barn and ask someone to do this for you.  When the horses are in, stalls must be cleaned more often and the workload is heavier.  Go to the barn with your raincoat!  It will not hurt you and your horse will be glad for the outing!

If you decide to ride, don’t be too proud to lunge your horse for a few minutes before mounting.  Even a generally quiet horse can be feisty when he has been stalled for long periods of time, or when the wind is whipping or howling.  It is not a sign of bravery when someone refuses to lunge a horse that has not been ridden for some time.  It is a better training decision to get the horse settled in to a working attitude on the lungeline  than to risk an adversarial confrontation.   

After you’ve seen to your horse’s exercise there are plenty of rainy weather chores that can be caught up on.  Tack cleaning can be fun if you do it in a group, maybe watching some horsey videos.  I’m sure your tack trunk or closet could stand to be cleaned and organized, as could the horse trailer you keep putting off.  Rainy days are a good day to wash and sanitize your horse’s brushes, as the muddy season brings with it lots of fungus that is hard to get rid of later.  If you are feeling particularly benevolent, you could clean out the barn’s break room or bathroom.  Someone will love you for it.   

Remember that the weather and economy have made the job of caring for horses harder on everyone this year.  Barn Owners, Barn Staff, Trainers, Boarders, Farriers, everyone has faced challenges this winter.  Hang in there and try to stay optimistic for the final stretch.  Pitch in and help to get through the last of this inconvenient weather.  It’s been a tough winter, but the end is in sight, and soon the same people who muddled through the cold, wet, muddy winter will be the ones riding alongside you while the sun shines warmly on your backs.

16 thoughts on “Don’t forget your Wellies….

  1. Yess! When the student is ready the teacher appears. I expect you to lead by example. I want to see your super clean saddle, bridle, brushes and boots. Finally, after all this bad weather we’ve got a leader. I knew the groundhog was up to something..

  2. OK, I’ve already cleaned all my tack, organized my locker, and a broom is at ready….who is going to tackle my 17h goofy and grumpy boy? Such a sweetie when the weather is good but recently he’s a grouch. Thanks for the nudge S. Now, for the stall/wall mat search……….it’s amazing what bored horses can find to do when it’s raining or snowing outside.

    1. We’re all a little grouchy these days! Maybe he’ll feel better when it’s not so cold out! You have to take him with us on some trail rides! Try and make it to the one at Foxhall for Georgia Equine Rescue League in June. I can find you a ride if you don’t have one! I need a nice calm Fresian to keep Nick calm!

  3. I LOVE THIS…I have been so down about this winter and riding and thought I was the only one! Thanks for the optimism…really helps to hear from a different point of view = ) !!!

  4. Yes! Winter has been miserable this year, and not just because it’s the first winter of me having my own horse.

    Anyways, I make it a point to go out and do something with my horse every single day. She’s bored of being in and I need to take care of her. I’m intrigued by the people who write a board check every month, but haven’t actually been out to see Precious since the temperature dipped below 80. What do they think their horse does in the winter? Mine is learning the dressage ropes and developing condition…

  5. Hi. I have enjoyed reading your blog and wanted to introduce myself. I am new to WordPress and am a writer who specializes in equine-related topics. Connecting with other like-minded people would be wonderful. Please consider following my blog, and horse care and management articles. Constructive advice is always welcome. Thank you and have a wonderful day…

    1. Thank you so much! I will begin blogging again this week- life got in the way for a bit- and I will also be starting a new podcast called horse rap radio this week and would love any feedback or personal observations of your own. Thank you again for the encouragement !

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