Sunday, 12 February 2017

Jobs to Keep You Busy in February

Well...the weather is pretty rubbish at the moment...winter is definitely making its statement & letting us know it is here!! Here's some top tips (jobs!) to help keep some motivation & be spring ready...

Clipping is done!

We don't clip all year round, but now January's out the way, we won't be needing our clippers again until the autumn. So get the blades sharpened - don't forget too that if they are due, send them away for a service.

There's nothing more frustrating than coming to ride in the autumn with a bit of a wooly horse, only to find that you didn't clean your clippers the last time you used them, they have blunt blades and are well over-due a service. Everyone finds the same and the same time of year, so it could be weeks before you see your clippers again!

Get them in now - then you'll be all set come September/October time!

Check your wagon checklist!

If you don't enjoy going out and about during the winter, your wagon might be lacking a bit of TLC both maintenance-wise & what's kept in it.

Be sure to keep your wagon or trailer moving when you're not using it - turn the engine over and take it on a short drive every week or so to help keep it moving. Just don't leave it standing for months on end... It's never a great feeling when you come to go out for the first time to find you have a flat battery or tyre...

Inside, make sure you have everything ready - what do you keep in your wagon that you need every time you go out?
  • Grooming and stud kits
  • Saddle pads/numnahs
  • Medical kits (horsey & human!)
  • Wash down sponges, scrapers, washes, buckets...
  • Rugs (I seem to have one for every season in our little wagon!)
  • Waterproofs (I always take mine out to use in the winter and forget to put them back in when I'm finished with them!!)
  • Spare tack (nothing worse than a broken stirrup leather or reins before you go in the ring)
  • Equipment like horse boots, hats, gloves, dressage numbers, haynets...
  • Finishing touches for horse and rider (baby oil, hoof oil, baby wipes, boot shine/polish, hair gel)
Make sure that come the spring, you aren't spending your time sorting your wagon out instead of enjoying the better weather and lighter nights!

Rug cleaning...

Similarly with clippers, make sure you avoid the queues if your not able to wash your rugs yourself. If you've not yet washed your lightweight rugs (indoor or outdoor), make sure that you send them off early in the year, when everyone else is thinking how cold it is!!

Likewise, come the start of no-rug weather, get your heavy winter rugs in to avoid the big queues and weeks of waiting nearer the autumn!

Do repairs at the same time - it can get costly to do everything at once, but if you get rugs wash, proofed (where needed) and repaired, they're ready for use as soon as the weather & temperatures say so!

Have a clear out & make some spare cash!

How many of us keep things for YEARS...just in case we may one day use it again!!?? I'm guilty of this!

For anyone who is short on space, or wants a bit of extra cash to help fuel their spring-autumn fun, have a clear out & get rid!

If you've got ANY items that don't fit your horse - give them a basic clean and get rid. Lots of little items soon add up to pay for a few training sessions or classes at a competition. 

In most areas there are tack sales that you can sell your unwanted horsey items (just don't go and pick up more!). Plus, if you've a friend who has items for sale too, you can share a table. There's also lots of groups on Facebook that allow for horsey items for sale, as well as marketplace.

Get a wall planner!

This is something that really boosts my motivation and gives me things to focus on, as well as helping me develop a plans of what to work towards.

I have an A1 laminated yearly wall chart, complete with wipe-dry pens & coloured stickers. I got it from Amazon for a "whopping" £2.75 with FREE delivery!!

I basically colour code into categories of training, competitions and appointments (farrier, vet, physio, saddles etc).

My trick is not to plan too far in advance, so at the start of January, I'd decided where I was going throughout January, February & March. Beyond that, I add things in that I'd like to aim for or have on my radar, but will re-assess how we are doing before sticking to it.

With something on every weekend (much to Andrew's annoyance of now meaning even less time on the golf course for him!!), I find it really helps me go through each week and know what it is that I'd like to work on with Louie, what we are aiming for at the weekend, and be able to visualise where & when are training sessions fit in.

& finally...look forward to spring!

On the darkest, coldest, wettest, windiest days, evenings or mornings, keep remembering that spring isn't far away. It will soon be evening hacking, competitions & training, riding in short sleeves (or at least without a jacket!) & our neddies will become fresh as daisies on the lush spring grass!!

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