As we head into autumn, it’s a good idea to start preparing for the cooler weather. Make sure your horse is in good health and that you have their rugs ready for when they need them. It’s also a good idea to get your yard and fields sorted, using the last of the warmer weather to get some maintenance and repair jobs done.
Your horse’s health
- Ensure vaccinations and dental checks are up to date and consult your vet if there’s anything you’re concerned about.
- Worming – make sure worming is up to date. It’s especially important when it comes to tapeworm, as horses are more susceptible after extended periods of grazing over the summer.
- Mud fever – if autumn brings a lot of wet weather, muddy conditions can make your horse vulnerable to mud fever. Try not to leave them for longer periods in muddy areas to reduce the risk of bacteria getting into their bloodstream via cracks or cuts.
Get your rugs ready…
- Firstly, ensure your summer fly rugs are washed and stored safely, along with any products like fly sprays so they’re in good condition for next year.
- Check that your horse’s winter rugs are in good condition – so get them cleaned if you didn’t in the spring, and make sure any repairs have been done. And if you need a new horse rug for the winter, get one now so you’re prepared for when the weather turns. Try not to rug your horse too early as it can interfere with their body’s self-regulation. Instead make sure they have access to some shelter, so they can get under cover if they choose.
- Have cooling rugs at the ready so that if your horse gets hot exercising you can cover them in a wool or fleece cooling rug to prevent them from getting a chill as the temperature drops.
Jobs around the yard and field
- Early autumn is a good time to get any repairs and maintenance done around the yard and fields, so check and mend fences, cut back hedges and put down hardware in areas prone to getting ruined, like around the water trough, so it’s in a good condition when it comes to spring.
- Give your horse’s stable a good clean and clear out gutters and drains. Insulate any water pipes that need it to ensure they don’t freeze up when it gets really cold.
- It’s also a good idea to get some bagged salt in to help prevent the ground freezing over in cold snaps, or to thaw out frozen patches.
- And finally, make sure your winter kit is ready – warm clothes, gloves and wellies for all those chilly mornings and evenings on the yard!