I hate mud. Living on the Somerset levels, I see a lot of mud. We are low lying and even better we have the worst possible kind of mud in clay. Clay is thick, heavy, clinging and makes you want to weep when you see your horse plastered in it. I like horses to have lots of turnout but the consequences of this turnout is a horse plastered in mud. Finally to add to my general mental instability about mud, I hate riding a filthy horse. I would rather not ride, than ride a dirty horse!
I have a bit of a joke that I will only have bay or chestnut horses because I hate cleaning off mud. I guess it’s lucky for me that most coloured and grey horses seem to attract bigger price tags than a ‘boring’ bay or chestnut. Frankly, wasting hours cleaning those white bits is a trial I would rather avoid. I want to just flick my horse over with a brush, not have to scrub at it and actually use some energy! There is nothing worse than coming home from work for an evening lesson and being met by your mud monster, who only that morning had looked reasonably clean. You then battle the mud trying to make sure it does not cover you or recover the horse and there is always that bit that is missed when you have washed them off and only discover when you are tacking them up at your trainers. You have cold hands, cold feet, mud smears on your face, a pissed off horse and you keep finding missed bits.
Every year, along with the declining daylight I know the inevitable is coming. Mud. This year though I have decided to prepare myself for the onslaught. It has cost me more than I was hoping for but I have decided the outlay vs mental anguish will be worth it.
So far I have done the following:
1) Purchased a Snuggy Hood – after I wanted to kill my 17hh horse for stuffing its head in the air and a hysterical over reaction over my unreasonable expectation to clean between its ears and the top of its neck, I have decided to purchase said hood. I feel tremendously guilty looking at him living in this hood and the horse does not seem thrilled by it but this is outweighed by the thought of never having to wrestle with him again about mud on his head. Outlay £35 off eBay
2) New hose pipe – My current one was a bit leaky and patched up so I decided to splurge. I have a better hose and better water nozzle so hoping the mud will come off quicker. Sadly for the horse it is still cold water but at least with the Snuggy Hood he does not have to have half his neck washed as well. Outlay £30
3) Waterproof gloves – SealSkinz are amazing. Warm and waterproof ideal for washing and scrubbing on those cold winter evenings. Outlay £30
4) Re-waterproofed my coat – My Le Chameau coat is several years old and I have given it a healthy dose of Nikwax over the last week so it will carry on for another several years and cope with everything that is thrown at it. Outlay £8
5) New rug – I have gone for a Premier Equine this year as they are really deep rugs and I like the hood construction as seems to actually stay in place. Outlay £60 as bought in the sale.
6) Oiling the legs and bottom of the tail – Once a week I apply oil onto my horses legs. I tried 7 day mud away but decided it was too expensive. Baby Oil, Pig Oil or manufacturers like Equimins do bottles of things like Mud Slide. I have found it does make a big difference. Outlay £4
7) Udder Grease –I tend to use udder grease on heels if they look like they need a bit of additional support to cope with the mud. Prevention of mud fever is definitely better than cure. Good old Sudocreme is another favourite in off peak eventing season (nobody seems to know if it will test positive or not!) Outlay £4
8) Muddy Marvel – I used this for the first time last year and it was brilliant at clearing up my horses mud fever which he had for the first time. Easy to use and worked effectively. Outlay £20 for two bottles of scrub and cream.
So I am hoping that I am ready to deal with what is thrown at me this winter. I suppose I should be grateful because last year I had no electricity so everything was done in a head torch. Then I missed a lot of mud when I arrived at my lessons which did not go well with my general OCD about clean horses.
On my wish list would be a hot water horse shower but as it’s a choice between BE membership and warm water then the cold water remains. Until I get a solarium, all weather turn out paddocks, groom, or all in one for the horse then I will continue to fight the mud and just be grateful that it’s not all year!
If any readers have any suggestions on how to aid my sanity then I am all ears!