Getting a horse ready after the winter

As it’s now officially Spring I think it’s safe to recap on the Winter which has just passed, hopefully!

Indi had a well-earned rest for 8 weeks, just getting fat and winding down in the field from what had been a busy season. I always give my horses 8 weeks off after a busy period. I believe it’s important to let them switch off mentally as well as allowing their body to repair and relax. It gives me time to think about how to improve results for next season while everything is still fresh in my memory. It also gives us a bit of family time in the evenings before the nights draw in too much.

Autumn is also the start of Adrian’s season – it’s his six months to spend his evenings with the sheep! We can also get lots of jobs done around the yard and catch up with things we’ve put off doing over the summer. In a normal year I usually get back on at Christmas and start light hacking until the clocks change, then crack on with proper pre-season fitness. However this winter has been so wonderfully mild I’ve been able to potter about at the weekends and get a good early base level of fitness, so much so that I have just had my first jump in the field. That’s totally unheard of in March as our fields are usually too wet.

Due to the mild winter all of the horses have lived out without a rug and just fed hay. Unfortunately her woolly mammoth appearance wasn’t practical for upping her fitness work so it had to go! But which clip? Getting the clip right is important. When deciding which one to choose you must think about workload, breed, type, shelter and rugging. You may find that if you’re only managing a couple of quiet hacks a week and your horse is living out then you only need a small bib clip or even no clip at all. But if like me you want to do a bit more then you may need to take more off!

I hate clipping – not helped by my clippers being ancient, heavy and noisy. Add in the fact that at the time we didn’t have any electric sockets in the yard, the thought of unreeling meters of electric cable was not very appealing. Last year I had to clip her in two sessions because she’s not overly keen on the noise. Therefore I thought I would treat myself to some new cordless clippers.

Cue an email to ArdMoor and an order for Clipperman Baroness Battery clippers. I decided to take her neck and tummy off but keep her hind quarters covered which meant that she could still live out with a light rug on.

Baroness Clippers

The clippers were brilliant. They were so quiet and the two speed settings made clipping her head easy. She stood quietly with her nose on the ground enjoying the vibrations, a complete change from the two person battle we had last year. As my horsey time is limited time is always a huge factor, the Baroness clippers made clipping so speedy, and without having to tidy up meters of electric cable. Since clipping Indi I’ve done both of the girls’ ponies twice, and every time has been stress-free.

Now the clocks have changed and we have finished lambing it’s all go to get Indi fit & ready for the first event of the season. I’ve been dressage judging and writing throughout the winter to sharpen up my own skills, the lorry is plated, tack is cleaned and the cupboards are full of baked beans, which can only mean one thing….. the Eventing season is upon us!

Indi has had her pre-season MOT from Equitait Vets where she was classed as fighting fit, but possibly a little round! We’re having a fairly late start to the season with a BE100 at Warwick Hall in May with hopes to complete the Novice there at the end of June.

If all goes to plan we aim to compete at our first 2* at the end of the season. However nothing ever goes to plan and September is a long way off. There’s a lot of work to do between now and then, fingers crossed the weather holds and pre-season training continues to go as smoothly as it has done so far.

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