Is your time at the yard a countless stream of horse poo and chores? Do you sometimes feel you forfeit the fun things because you always have so many jobs to do? I sometimes find that balancing my full-time job, the horse and general life can be hard, so I have whittled my weekday yard routine down in to a smooth, well-oiled machine. Here are some of my tips that you can pinch.
- If I have the time, perhaps if I’m not going to ride, then I always stuff a good few hay nets to last for the following couple of days. I’m always very grateful when I’m next in a massive hurry and there is already one made that I can grab.
- I try to cram several chores in to one. For example, when I go to the tap to clean my feed buckets, I will also fill them up with some water to use to mix in to the next lot of feed I make. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it took me a while to figure this one out and before I did it, I was wasting so much time walking back and forth to the tap!
- I keep a magic brush and hoofpick outside of my stable. This means that they are always on hand for a quick flick off when he comes in from the field, without having to lug out my entire grooming kit.
- Lots of lead ropes. I cross tie my horse, so I always have two lead ropes constantly tied outside my stable. When I bring him in or out, I simply clip them on to his headcollar, eliminating time searching for and tying up lead ropes every day. I then have a third rope which I use for general leading, which never gets tied to the wall.
- Ride and walk the dog at the same time. It’s a horsey fact that hounds and horses go hand in hand (or hoof in paw). If you have a sane animal – either species – then consider hacking with your dog. It will save you having to walk them when you get home.
- On the days that I know I will be going straight to the yard from work, I will wear more practical clothes. A top that I can just throw a jumper on over the top of. Or jeans that are on their last wear and can be ridden or mucked out in. Obviously this won’t apply to everyone, but you get the general idea – if you know you are going to the yard from work, don’t wear tonnes of jewellery and clothes that are hard to change in and out of because it just wastes time.
- Using clever products can save a huge amount of time. I like to use mane and tail conditioners that are super long lasting; it makes the grooming a lot quicker. If your horse gets turned out naked, you can also get mud repellents for their coat. I also prefer to use a weekly fly repellent instead of one that you have to apply daily. These seem expensive as an initial purchase, but they are really cost effective in the long run. Similarly, use a weekly hoof dressing if you find one that suits.
I hope that some of these tips will be useful to you or you can adapt them to fit your own yard routine. I’d love to hear yours too, so please leave them in the comments section below.