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Ponderings of an Equestrian Professional

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#Equestianblogtober Day 5: Autumn essentials for your horse.

Hows your horse doing changing his/her coat? It's that time of year again, hair everywhere, you may even be clipping. Ain't Autumn great with horses?

Horses Rugs
Alfie & his friend Star put there Horseware Ireland rugs to the test!

Of course many of us are starting to look at our rugs. Are they clean? Did we forget to get them repaired? Can we get them sorted before we need them?

Some of mine are still away being washed, but they are the heavier ones I don't need yet, phew!

I have two lots of rugs to look after, 17hh Alfies are all 6'6". The 5'3" ones belong to Midge, who you may not have met yet.

Poor Midge suffers with slight sweet itch so has a Snuggy Hoods sweet itch rug on during the summer.

Pony Suggy Hoods
Midge in is Snuggy Bug Set, keeping the flying bugs away

The little fella (he's 12.3hh) has been enjoying the sun on his back since August, and I'm in no hurry to put a rug on him, he's doing very well with his big friends at the moment.

I do worry a bit about horses being over-rugged. I know Midge is rugged in summer, that's to keep the Midges off. Alfie, being dark bay, wears a light colour rug to reflect the heat on hot summer days, if he has to stay out in it.

Beautiful Horse
Flysheets for Alfie to keep the hot sun off his dark coat.

Now is the time horses are likely to be overheating under their rugs, the temperatures are so different from day to day it's hard to get it right, but over the years I have learned horses cope better with being chilly than they do with being too hot.

If a horse isn't clipped, why do we rug them? Let's be honest, mostly it's to save grooming time, which is a great shame, time spent grooming is great bonding time. Believe me, I rug to keep clean too. There isn't time for me to clean 2 mud monsters. I love my Snuggy Hoods turn out hoods, they keep heads & necks lovely and clean, though they need washing at least once a fortnight to stop them rubbing your horses mane out, just as the manufacturers explain on the label in the packaging.

Cute Pony
Slight wardrobe mishap for midge!

Midge has one turn out hood and one Snuggy bug good, so I can rotate them. Alfie has two turn out hoods, fortunately he hasn't had a wardrobe failure as bad as his predecessor, Rodney, yet!

Err, human I require assistance!

Both of my boys have more than 1 New Zealand rug. Lightweight, for the milder wet times, middle weights as it gets colder, with them both stabled overnight I haven't bought any heavyweights, I'm not even sure they are needed for a horse living out, but I will be keeping close eye on Midge, who is no spring chicken and will be staying out this winter. I'm happy to use layers to keep Alfie warm during the day, but maybe one thick rug is better overnight in the field - less chance of tangled rugs!

Happy, snug Midge

I fear rugs are becoming as much of a minefield as feeding for chosing which is right for your horse. I am more than happy to advise people who are struggling, but at this time of year advise given today may not apply tomorrow.

So we need to check our horses wardrobe, making sure we are ready for Autumn & what follows. Diet & feeding is a minefield I don't fancy going into today, though I will say horses are trickle feeders and need in my opinion, at least 1% of their bodyweight of hay/haulage to munch on overnight. I hate seeing horses with no food at 8pm who will get nothing more til 7am, if they're lucky!

I will quickly mention feet. Do your nails get brittle & split when the seasons change? Mine are awful at the moment. So are Alfies, and Midge needs a trim too.

foot horse
Crumbly hoof wall

The split in Alfies hoof wall was deep, and making the whole thing quite weak. It gave us a chance to try Hoof putty from Keratex. It's looking good now, we will wait & see if it helps promote healthy hoof growth.

hoof repair
Filled with hoof putty to help evenly disperse forces through the hoof wall and aid healthy hoof growth

Here you go. 5 days of blogging complete, 26 to go.

I'm off for a coffee.

See you tomorrow.


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