My previous post ’15 HORSEY LIFE HACKS’ proved such a hit that I thought I’d try to rustle up some MORE!. I could only stretch to 9 this time (apologies for the shortcomings, think of it in dressage terms a 9 = very good!) but there are some crackers in there – enjoy!
1/ Instant ‘Stick-ability’ – Andrew Nicholson eat your heart out!
For a quick stick-ability boost grab some saddle soap and liberally apply to the seat and top panels of your saddle just before mounting. The slight dampness of a recently soaped saddle combined with a pair of full seat breeches can give you that added extra bit of grip. I often do this before the XC phase at an event or if Dustry is looking particularly wild when I go to ride that day! 😉
2/ Make your own soft, long lasting saddle soap
Using top showing producer Lynne Russell’s home recipe. The ratio is 2/3 glycerine saddle soap to 1/3 full fat milk. Melt the soap in the microwave, stir in the milk, pop in the fridge for 10 hrs and voila! Don’t use your best bowls to melt the soap in because it’s hard to get off when it hardens, use some old plastic containers/take away cartons that you can throw away afterwards, or store the homemade saddle soap in. This will last much longer and is easier to apply than traditional bars of saddle soap.
3/ Easy to hang and fill haynets
Heavy hay nets that have been tugged at and bashed around by greedy horses can tangle and knot up, and the thin nylon tie up string can at times be impossible to un-knot. For a few pounds you can buy heavy duty braided round chord (typically used for sailing or climbing) and restring your nets. eBay has loads to choose from. Simply cut the original hang up string, pull it out and rethread the top of the net with the new chord. Voila! no more hard to untie knots, they’re easier to open to fill and kinder on your hands when carrying a heavy net. You can also get the chord in a range of colours – mine are green and white, naturally! 😉
4/ Keep rats out of your chaff with a wheely bin
Big bags of chaff are hard to fit in the conventional plastic dustbins that I use for feedbins, so I’m always left with about a 5th of the bag that I have to store on top of the bin. Until used up in feeds the mice and rats can get into this easily. A wheely bin fits a whole bag of Hi Fi in it perfectly, so no more open bags of feed attracting vermin!
5/ Get grey tails whiter with ketchup
If you struggle with yellow wee stained grey tails try tomato ketchup! Yes tomato ketchup, the cheaper the better. Apply the ketchup liberally to the tail and leave for 10-20 mins to soak in. You might want to tie the saucy tail up or place it in a carrier bag whilst it soaks in to keep ketchup off the rest of the horse! Rinse and repeat as needed. The red lifts the yellow colour out, getting your greys whiter than white!
6/ Make your own hat silk pom pom
Don’t pay a fortune for a pom pom, jazz up an old hat silk yourself in no time. All you need is some wool, cardboard, scissors and a little patience. Here’s how to make one yourself and give a tatty looking hat silk a lift or customise your cross country colours yourself! Use 2 or 3 different coloured wools for a marbled effect.
7/ Keep your water troughs clear and clean
Adding approx 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to your horse’s water trough will kill any mosquito/gnat/bug larvae and help keep you trough free from gunky green algae.
8/ Get yourself a Grabbit!!!
If you have rubber mats this is an absolute god send. Ask for it for Christmas if you must, but get one asap. I had to lift, wash, and move 28 rubber mats from one stable block to another and borrowing a friend’s Grabbit was the only reason I managed to do it. It grips on to mats of all thickness and texture types (bobbly and ridged) and makes it SO much easier to lift, and drag heavy (usually stinky and dirty) rubber stable matting. Thumbs up for the Grabbit, big time!
9/ Tyred of untidy hose pipes?
An old tyre rim makes fantastic, sturdy and cheap hose pipe storage. Spruced up with a lick of gloss paint and securely fastened to a wall they make ideal weatherproof hose pipe reels to wrap your unruly hose around. No more kinks, no more horse cutting off the supply by treading on the hose. Blingy dressage divas may want to use an old Audi or BMW rim, us eventers prefer Land Rover or Subaru ones 😉 arf arf!