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One of the hardest things about owning horses is getting the rest you need when you are ill so that you can get better. This is something I have been struggling with this week after coming down with an exhausting virus going round the office. Trying to recover from my illness as quickly as possible whilst looking after Scottie is a bit of a balancing act.
Unlike other people, I can’t just hibernate for days on end keeping warm and rested until the virus passes. I have to drag myself out of bed in the morning and walk around muddy fields in the cold and lug heavy wheelbarrows around. While this is easy work to a horse owner on a normal day, when your immune system is under attack, these simple daily tasks are exhausting and can take hours to recover from.
It can be tempted to just drug up and carry on as usual, this will only take you longer to fully recover. Which isn’t good for you or your horse! Afterall, when your horse is ill, you give them plenty of rest before expecting them to return to work. So here are my top tips for surviving an illness as a horse owner.
Take it easy!
Don’t feel like you have to ride. Chances are your horse will be absolutely fine with a couple of days off. If they are on a strict fitness schedule to get them ready for competition, consider lunging instead, which is less effort for you but can still be a good work out for them.
Early nights are your friend!
Since we all have to be up early to sort the horses out, lay ins aren’t really an option for us. So instead make use of the early night as this is the best way for you to get some extra sleep.
It’s okay to cut corners
When I was at my worst, just 10 mins of outside time was truly exhausting for me. Let alone pushing a wheelbarrow or carrying haynets. So I decided to cut a few corners in my daily yard jobs. Whereas I normally do a full muck out every day, I just took the poo and the obviously wet bits out of Scottie’s bed. And when he needed a fresh bale of straw, instead I put a few sections in each day over a few days.
Remember you have friends!
And don’t be afraid to ask them for a favour! I am very lucky to be on a yard where we all regularly help each other out. This meant that when I had my worst day, I could message Jojo’s owner and ask if she would turn Scottie out for me. And then later that day she even offered to finish Scottie off for me! Meaning I could spend the entire day in the house recovering.
Drugs are your friend (But not compulsory!)
If you feel like you would benefit from taking some cold medicine or maybe even some painkillers don’t be a hero! Just take them! Not only will this help make your yard jobs more manageable, but they should help you recover quicker by helping to control the symptoms of your illness. However, try not to over do it!
Finally, no matter how much help you have, and how easy you take it, you will still need to visit the yard. Make sure you wrap up warm. As chances are, even if you feel really hot, you still need to keep your body warm to stop the illness getting any worse. This can be particularly hard when you have a bit of a fever and the sweats.