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It’s nearly November, the clocks have gone back and winter is about to creep in. Owning horses is hard at the best of times, but owning horses in winter is a whole new challenge entirely. Having the right equipment makes winter much easier so before winter is well and truly here, I am going to share with you my 10 winter must haves for horse owners.
For the horse owner
You will inevitably be spending a lot of time outside in all weathers looking after your horse. You need to make sure you are also looking after yourself. Winter just gets harder if you are getting cold and wet.
Thermal Base Layers
I am a recent convert to a good base layer. They are perfect for the yard when you start off cold and get warmer while you get through your yard jobs and ride. I personally like to pair them with a body warmer and maybe a coat over the top when it is really cold. Of all my thermal base layers, my favourite is probably my Zerofit Move. It’s light, breathable and has technology to actually create heat against your skin, not just trap heat.
A good warm pair of yard boots
In the past I have really struggled with chillblaines over the winter. But since swapping to leather boots I have stopped having a problem. In the 6 years I have had Scottie, I have always had Mark Todd Country Boots. They are my go to and when my current pair dies I replace them with another pair of the same. I love them to bits. They are warm, waterproof and comfortable. What more do you want? I always get mine from VioVet.
I’m not a huge hat person as even in winter I find them too warm. So for me, a headband is perfect. It keeps my ears warm as there is nothing worse than cold ears! It also hides hat hair if you have just finished riding.
A selection of good quality coats
I’m sure I’m not the only horse owner who has lots of coats for the yard. I have various weights and styles and plenty of spares. This is partly because as a horse owner I spend a lot of time outside and you want to be warm and dry. But also because I get hot really quickly so need to have different thicknesses for the different weathers. My go to brand is always Mark Todd for coats. One of my coats I have had over 10 years and while it is starting to show some wear and tear, it has been fantastic!
For the horse
We all know that our horses are easier when they are happy. So anything we can do to make winter easier for them, will also make winter easier for us.
Metal Curry Comb
Scottie is a mud monster. He not only rolls in the mud, but will grind it into the fur of any unclipped areas. This can be a nightmare to get off his coat. But I have found a metal curry comb to be the best thing for it. The springs means you can use it really lighty and still get all the mud off really easily. I can even use it on Scottie’s face and he is happy for me to do so. I highly recommend!
I think grass nuts are a great thing to have in the feed room. They are perfect for treatballs when the horses have to stay in. Plus they are usually low in sugar and are basically just forage. My go to grass nuts are the Baileys High Fibre Nuggets.
Spare turnout rugs
Rugs get ripped and if the weather is really bad soaked through. So I think it is wise to always have a some spare turnout rugs. Scottie has 2 of every weight turnout rug for this exact reason.
Tiger tongue sponge
This sponge is incredible. It removes poo stains almost instantly, gets dry poo out of velcro, removes grease and dirt from the horses coat and is soft enough to use everywhere. I really didn’t understand the hype about this spongue. But now I have one it all makes perfect sense.
For the yard
There are also some things you can buy for the yard what will make your life much easier.
I think multiple haynets are a must have for looking after horses over the winter. When its dark, raining and cold the last thing you want to do is spend more time than you have to outside in that weather. So having multiple haynets allows you to make up haynets in advance, meaning you can save time on horrible days when you want to go home and warm up.
Easy to muck out bedding
I have always loved a shavings bed, but we can’t have shavings at my current yard. But I have found something just as good in Bedkind Carboadrd bedding. It’s fairly cheap, dust free and easy to muck out. Luckily I wouldn’t say that Scottie is a particularly dirty horse to muck out, but he can be a bit wet. But the carboard works really well for him.