Throughout the month of August, I posted through the #HorseBloggers channel a top tip every day in keeping topics flowing when it comes to blogging about all things equine. I have decided to write thirty one posts, each taking on board the tips that I recommended. So my sixth post is all about my stable routine and my tips on how to save money and time!
I am very lucky where Zeb lives that I do not have to have a strict turnout routine which means I don’t have to muck out every day or visit twice a day. Over the last fourteen years of being a horse owner, I have had to stick to yard routines which make you learn about where to save time and money!
I wonder how many hours and how much money I have spent on my stable husbandry over the last fourteen years? It would make my hair curl if I added it up! However, I have learned a lot over the years where to spend your money and where to save when it comes to stable care. Here are some of my money and time saving ideas:
1 Invest in good rugs. I have spent a fortune on rugs over the years but not spending anymore than £50.00 at a time. Sadly alot of them don’t last or they rip or slip with my horse coming in from the field wearing what looks like a ripped mini skirt! Now, this post is not sponsored shout out about equestrian companies but I do swear by Premier Equine rugs. Yes, they are more expensive but I promise you they will last, not slip or rarely rip. I also leave my horse in them overnight in the stable. It saves you time by not swapping rugs and if you have a wet rug, let it dry out on your horse which is much quicker and more efficient.
2 Buy a rug rack. If money is no object then a heated rug rack are a great idea. But as mentioned in my previous tip, you can dry out a wet rug on your horse. So to save on electric and not breaking the bank, a normal rug rack with swinging rails that can be tucked out the way, are brilliant. They are also fairly inexpensive. Rugs are heavy cumbersome items, so to store them in order will also make life easier when trying to locate a rug too! How many times have you tried to find your rug in a dirty pile? With a rug rack, you can find it and pull it off with ease.
3 Invest in good bedding for your stable. There will be trial and error finding what suits your horse too. Some horses are very clean in the box, where some are extremely mucky! I actually deep litter taking out the wet once a week or more often if my horse is in every night. It really does work well if you need to save time in the week and it possibly saves on shavings too. By also using quality shavings which may cost you more, they do actually go that bit further so are more cost effective. I also now use a disinfectant spray on the mats when you have lifted the out the wet. It just helps with that strong ammonia smell and is more hygienic too.
4 To keep a water bucket clean, make sure you have a sieve to clear out rouge bits of hay or shavings that have got in there overnight. It will save you not having to empty it completely. If droppings have landed in there, then a sieve won’t save it though!! Make sure you have a scrubbing brush to clean out a mucky water bucket too. Using an old fashioned bath brush makes light work of this.
5 If there are days where you need to be quick, be organised and fill hay nets in advance, make up feeds, skip the stable out and put a sprinkling of shavings on top just to make life easier. Buy also in bulk so you haven’t got to make numerous trips to the feed store. If possible get together with other liveries and buy shavings, hay and feed together which can save the pennies but also time too!
I am a great believer that being organised with your routine makes yard life enjoyable rather than a stress. I would also say to have patience too whether that is with your horse or with other liveries. Sometimes we are all in a rush and may leave a shavings fork in the wrong place or your horse is reluctant to come in but there is no point stressing or getting cross. Remember we have horses because we love them and we love this hobby – and that is what it is all about!
by Samantha Hobden