6 horsey jobs you must do during October
The cooler autumn temperatures and freedom from nuisance biting flies will be welcomed by both horses and riders alike but are you ready for all that this season brings? As always preparation is the key. So here’s 6 jobs you need to do for a hassle-free time that means you can concentrate on your riding…
1. Watch out for autumn fruits
Beware of sycamore, maple and oak trees. If you have one of these trees in your field, you need to fence around them, so that your horse cannot eat any of their fruit, eg the sycamore seeds or “keys” as they are commonly known, or the acorns. There is now good evidence that the fruit from these trees is highly toxic to horses and in the very worst of cases, horses have actually died after eating them.
2. Plan rugs
As soon as the night time temperatures drop, don’t panic and be tempted to over-rug your horse! Plan out in advance what rugs you’ll use when the temperature is 10C, 2C, -5C etc. For example for my horse I use a cotton sheet between 14-10C, then a fleece between 9-7C etc. He hates being warm and completely trashes his stable if he gets too hot! You know your horse. Select your rug based on your horse's needs not on what everyone else seems to be doing. Take a look at our Rug Temperature Guide if you're in any doubt what rug to use.
3. Prepare gateways
When it’s blowing a gale and pouring with rain, bringing in can prove a bit of a challenge and this starts with getting him and you(!) safely through the gate. Make this easier for yourself by putting down something in the gateway to prevent the area from becoming too muddy and slippery. The best choice is hard core but I’ve seen rubber matting and carpet used quite successfully before. The secret is to get your solution installed before the rain arrives.
4. Watch out for the signs of mud fever
Cast your mind back to previous winters. Endless rain. Muddy fields. And the dreaded Mud Fever. Did you struggle? I struggled! Be proactive and mindful that prevention is better than cure. If you believe your horse will succumb to it, ensure you’ve got a good supply of the products to treat it in your medicine cabinet NOW! There’s nothing more frustrating than finding you haven’t got what you need even though you knew full well you needed it! Visit our Mud Fever Collection to get everything you need.
5. To clip or not to clip – that is the question!
The clipping season is upon us! Before you go ahead and whip off all his coat, think carefully about whether to clip your horse or not: if you’re only going to be able to ride at weekends, and then just for gentle hacks, your horse may be more comfortable in his own coat and you can save all the extra effort of rugging him up every day as well as the expense of rug washes next spring. For those horses that are a little on the lively side, eg youngsters, consider the likely impact on your riding after clipping, bearing in mind “safety first”. Before you reach for the clippers, read our blog to help you decide on the best clip for your horse.
6. Get hunting and shooting dates
If there’s a local shoot or hunt in your area, it may be best to avoid turning out or even riding out when these are in action as often horses are excited or distressed by the sound of them. Ask the game keeper or the hunt secretary for the season’s dates and put it up in the tack room for all your fellow equestrians and let your neighbours know as well.