Working On A Yard
Looking after one horse can bring enough challenges on its own but a whole yard of horses and ponies is a completely different story. Summer is the busiest time of year for any riding stables, with the warmer weather comes horse flies, sweaty/hot horses and a lot more customers! A few years ago, I worked on a hacking yard and here I’m sharing my top tips for summer ease, along with my highs and lows of working with so many horses in the busiest season of the year.
Know your stuff
Make sure you’ve got to know each horse’s personality and needs very thoroughly! Putting 2 dominant mares one behind the other on a hack is just never going to end well… Knowing what each horse is like also comes in handy when pairing them up with the right rider, you want to ensure that the customer has the best experience possible.
Working with the public
You will come across every type of ‘rider’ whilst working on any yard, the beginners, the novices, the experienced ones and of course the ‘know it alls’ (who tend to want to ride the ex-race horses but have never actually ridden…) Learning to work with such a variety of abilities isn’t always easy but it can be worthwhile. I spent a lot of time teaching a girl to ride who had cerebral palsy (a condition which affects body movements and co-ordination), she was like no student I’d ever had but she was by far the most rewarding, nothing can explain the feeling of seeing her face light up at just learning to trot!
The worst thing about horses in summer is oversized, over populated, over annoying horse flies. We all know these flies are extremely irritating to the horses and people too, especially if you’re allergic. So here are my top tips for preventing and treating bites;
-If you’re horse tends to suffer more than others then invest in a fly rug to turn them out in, there’s nothing worse than trying to bring in and ride an irritated horse
-Fly spray is a must, and plenty of it! I tend to use NAFOFF deet power but be careful with this on your own skin
-If it’s not a hot day then cover yourself up, horse flies can bite through clothing but it helps to reduce it
-If you’ve been bitten, make sure you DO NOT scratch it! Get some hydrocortisone cream applied ASAP and consider taking an antihistamine tablet, the combination will help.
Looking after yourself
-Never get on a horse that you know you’re not ready to ride, chances are that you’ll ruin your confidence
-Remember to apply sun cream and drink plenty of water
-Dress appropriately, it may be hot but shorts and flip flops aren’t the best choice around horses!
-Makes the most of it, winter will soon come around and so will those heavy rugs