When the rain is driving down and you’re sliding through mud to catch your horse who is wearing a drenched turnout rug, it’s very easy to question why it was such a good idea to own a horse at all!

Here are five useful tips for staying sane and trying to make the miserable winter weather more bearable.

  1. Lay down hard core in the gate area to help avoid fields becoming poached, a cheaper option could be to lay down stable mats, or fence off the gateway to encourage horses to not always wait in the same area.
  2. Look into Investing in a Hay Hutch as a lot of hay is wasted in muddy fields, as it gets trampled. A Hay Hutch (www.hay-hutch.com) contains hay in a robust plastic feeder with apertures, designed to prevent hay wastage and damage to pasture, or maybe make up some hay feeders out of old pallets as another option.
  3. Check regularly for rain scald, if your horse is not rugged up, keep an eye on their skin to check they are not suffering from rain scald. If they are susceptible to the condition, help prevent it by putting rugs on and ensuring there is a field shelter so they can escape from the rain. Robert Ibbotson of Robinson Animal Healthcare recommends an antibacterial wash, such as Active Wash, have this as an essential item to add to your winter first-aid kit (www.robinsonhealthcare.com). “This can be used to treat mud fever or rain scald, or help prevent them when used regularly as a shampoo on horses that are prone to these conditions,” he says.
  4. Make a plan to dry rugs - Establish a dedicated drying area for soaked rugs and make the most of any sun to air them in. Or look to invest in a dedicated drier to dry your rugs in 4hr here are some examples to be found on these websites (www.horserugdriers.co.ukor www.drimee.com).

Everybody has their own system relating to the above; what’s always true is that whatever system you use ‘if it works for you it’s usually the best one with what you have available to you and what you can afford financially.’