Make Life Easier at the Yard this Winter
During a pleasant summer when you are riding and working in the warm weather, those cold winter days seem like a distant problem. But they are sure to arrive and to deliver all the usual issues of frozen pipes and dark evenings. Life will be much easier if you prepare in advance for the big freeze and ensure that you have everything you require at the ready.
Here’s what you need to do if you want to make your life easier.
Prevent Water Freezing
Get your hands on a large hammer and a metal colander so that you will be able to attack the ice in water buckets. Use the hammer to break the ice and the colander to scoop it out. Plastic accessories are not strong enough and will break.
Find an old football to put in the water trough to prevent the water from completely freezing over. If your horse tends to be wary of new things then introduce the ball to the trough early to give them time to get used to it being there.
Find a couple of old tyres to keep at the yard. These can be filled with straw and then used to stand water buckets in to stop them from freezing.
Invest in a couple of large water containers which you can use to store water overnight if your pipes have a tendency to freeze.
Lag all of the pipes at the yard to prevent them freezing.
Build up a good store of grit because you are going to need it. Don’t wait too long to make your purchase because a cold snap could arrive at any time.
Make sure that you have adequate stocks of food and bedding. You must be able to feed your horse but snow and ice could prevent delivery vehicles from accessing the yard.
The entrances to paddocks could get really boggy in the winter months so invest in stones and/or chippings and get these down early so that access is never a problem.
Make sure that you have a supply of grease to use on your horse’s hooves if it snows.
Keep a kettle at the yard and make sure that it is in working order. Those hot drinks could be life savers!
Invest in a head torch so that you can move around the yard safely. You will be able to work with ease and to keep both of your hands free at all times. Head torches are inexpensive but will make a huge difference.
You need to take care of your horse but your welfare is important too! It is vital to keep as warm as possible so equip your wardrobe with good winter clothing. You will benefit from wearing thermal base layers, over-trousers and a good pair of gloves and socks. Fingerless gloves will come in handy and you should wear a hat when working at the yard as you lose a high proportion of your body heat through your head.
You can’t make the weather warmer but you can ensure that you can cope with a harsh winter by being well prepared. Get yourself organised whilst it is still pleasantly mild and you won’t be caught out.