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Keep Warm Working with Horses in Winter

Keep Warm Working with Horses in Winter

Keep warm working with horses - Keep Warm Riding

by Becky Parker

It’s not easy to keep warm working with horses; there is definitely an art to not getting frozen toes, chilblains and a weather-beaten face by age 30 when you work in the equine industry. Fellow blogger Kelly Wallace Horne has already discussed a basic guide to rugging horses, but what about ourselves? Wrapping up properly and staying dry (ish) can make the difference between a truly miserable winter and a busy one enjoying crisp winter mornings and long days out galloping around the countryside following the hunt. The trick lies in not just one method but successfully taking care of all the details. Let’s apply the same level of thorough, exemplary care we give to the horses, to ourselves. Certainly many a good groom’s downfall but hey, we can make sure you at least know what you should be doing!

 

Rugging Yourself Up

Layers

Many thin layers are most effective in keeping you cosy by trapping pockets of warm air between the fabric. They are also easier to slip on and off when going in and out of the sheltered barn or schooling horses. It is important to try not to allow yourself to overheat and sweat as you will quickly become cold in damp clothes once you stop.

Merino wool, synthetic or bamboo base layers are widely considered the best in all outdoor sports. While they are undeniably pricier than cotton clothing they are proven to be much better at retaining heat and wicking moisture away from the body. Cotton absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry, therefore it is not an ideal layer worn next to the skin.

For some reason, while we are quick to shove extra layers on the torso and cover our hands and feet, we often neglect the legs. Thermal insulated leggings, Long Johns and/or full-length chaps can be a lifesaver if you suffer from chill blains, which are most commonly found on the thighs. When out hacking a long, knee-length waterproof coat can help keep the legs dry. My personal favourite is to get under the horse’s exercise rug with them, that way you benefit from their body heat too!

Mountain Warehouse currently have a great sale on Merino Baselayers.

 

Keep warm working with horses out in the snowGloves

Which brand and thickness of glove you go for is down to personal preference. A popular method is to keep a thicker hard wearing pair for all yard work and a separate thin glove for riding. It goes without saying that in an outdoor job where there will be regular contact with water buckets, drinkers and sweaty horses having both pairs waterproof is a necessity. For those who really suffer in the cold, you can buy silk or merino liners for extra toasty hands. Sealskinz gloves are particularly good on the waterproof front, whilst Ariat is probably the most popular brand of riding glove.

 

Footwear

According to outdoor survival experts, the best way of keeping feet warm is to wear a thin silk or polypropylene layer followed by a tightly woven thicker wool sock. Neoprene lined wellies are without doubt much warmer than their cheaper, purely rubber counterparts. However, if you are unlucky enough to own a pair of these leaky failures I can recommend the ‘foot in a plastic bag’ technique as a temporary fix. The true difficulty lies in keeping warm toes whilst out riding. Buying boots that allow a little extra room to wiggle the toes maintaining circulation will help with this. I recently saw a great hack on a popular cycling website suggesting wearing one thin layer of good quality socks then wrapping your foot in aluminium foil before putting your shoe/boot on. They likened this to the ‘Jacket potato’ effect. Whilst I can’t claim to have tested this method it sounds worth a try to me.

When we put this question to our Facebook community Bev Frampton reminded us that Sealskinz also make ‘miracle’ socks that keep your toes dry and toasty. Here is a link to their whole range of equestrian products.

Philippa Delahaye recommended wearing a thin pair of tights over the top of your socks while Ashton LeClair suggested using heated socks.

 

Headwear

The age-old belief that a person loses up to 70% of their body heat through the head has now been scientifically proven wrong. That said, this doesn’t mean a cosy beanie can’t do wonders for your comfort levels on a chilly day. I personally hate removing my hat after riding and not immediately replacing it with a woolly one! As another option Headbands are a great way of keeping warm ears but still allowing some heat to escape. I am a huge lover of snoods rather than scarves. I find them to be much more practical as they are neater, less bulky and great for pulling right up to your eyes on a truly vile day out hacking. They also easily double up as a hat, headband or sweatband for your wrist. Buff has a wide range of good quality snoods with some great colour and pattern options. Most popular with the racing crowd for bracing early mornings whizzing up the gallops are fleece lined ear muffs that attach to your riding helmet securely without affecting the fit.

 

Keeping Yourself Fed and Watered

During cold weather, the body has to work much harder to maintain a comfortable core temperature. Shivering is proven to double and sometimes even triple the metabolic output. A body that is given an insufficient calorie intake for the work will function less efficiently. The immune system will be weakened and we will struggle with a lack of energy feeling sluggish, moving slower and not keeping ourselves warm through movement.

It is a little-known fact that we also need to drink more in cold weather. Breathing in cold air causes water loss through the need to warm and humidify the air as it comes in, which is then immediately lost as we breathe out. The wearing of such bulky clothing also ends up causing us to sweat when working hard if we don’t manage our temperature properly.

There is little evidence to prove that drinking hot drinks actually warms you up physically. The fact we feel a benefit has been put down to the placebo effect – I am drinking something warm, therefore I am warmer. Nonetheless, if you find it helps, it’s still worth doing.

 

Tricks and Tips

A few extra bonus tips……

  • Chemical hand and foot warmers are a great buy for shoving down wellies and gloves on really chilly days. They may only work for a short amount of time but they help get you out the door until your warmed up from working.
  • Pre-warming clothes on a radiator in the morning while you eat breakfast makes for a small little win before you get started. Also remember to put damp hats, gloves and outer layers over a radiator while you stop for lunch to get the chill out of them.
  • Damp and cold weather is murder for chapped hands. This is an extra important time of year to remember to moisturise regularly. Hard hands may be a necessity but cracked hands are a step too far!
  • Similarly, dry and chapped lips from the freezing wind is another perk of the job. I can highly recommend Carmex as a particularly good lip balm. After the initial sting it almost feels like its warming your lips!

At the risk of sounding too ‘preachy’ your own health really should be of paramount importance. It might feel like you’re being a better worker battling on when you’re freezing, just finishing this one last thing but it’s not ‘being tough’ it’s being silly. If you’re cold, stop and grab an extra layer, if you’re soaked after a soggy ride or bathing a horse, go get changed. Invest in good waterproofs and decent hole free footwear, prioritise your health and if you really can’t afford it speak to your boss about it, maybe they can help. A sick and miserable groom is no good to anybody, not the horses, not their fellow workers, not the boss. So, take care of yourself and there is plenty about winter that can be enjoyed. We choose to work outdoors because we see that, get wise, wrap up and you will find yourself able to enjoy the beauty of outdoors all the more.

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PLEASE NOTE, FOR THIS VACANCY,  WE WILL ONLY ACCEPT APPLICATIONS FROM JOB SEEKERS WITH: A CURRENT CV ATTACHED TO A CURRENT JOB SEEKER PROFILE AN HGV LICENSE (able to drive a 26t lorry)  *Salary IRO £400/£450+ top, top wage for previous competition grooming experience depending on experience *Own horse and pets welcomed *Partner welcomed This vacancy is a lovely and rare opportunity for an experienced Groom who combines the experience of working on a family yard, with performance horse know how ideally gained within a SJ/jumping environment to work as a competition Groom or would suit someone already experienced in Competition grooming. This family of young riders are very active most weekends and therefore you will need to be prepared to cover this, although some weekends off are available by prior arrangement and exception. You will need to be flexible to work 5.5 sometimes 6 days a week Must be prepared to cover weekends and stay away You will need to be flexible enough to handle an environment where things change regularly as it is a fast-paced, rapidly expanding scenario. You would need to take this in your stride and it would be ideal if you saw this as invigorating and exciting rather than a nuisance! The family have 18 quality jumping horses  (currently managed by 2 FT/ 1pt & the Yard manager/ trainer) and  on a second yard, an assortment of broodmares and young stock, (hopefully destined for a career in SJ/jumping.)  The family consists of non-riding dad who is looking forward to spending more time with his family as part of their journey, mum who is an experienced horsewoman and 3 daughters (aged 12-15 years old) who are very keen indeed. The girls all do BSJ and want to eventually do European tours & be on YR teams. They are the focus of the role and all activities that go on with both yards, will underpin these equestrian dreams. Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
   * Salary starting at £30,000K negotiable upwards plus accommodation depending on experience *Own horse and pets welcomed *Partner welcomed No 1 Experienced Show Jumping Competition Groom required for a vacancy with a very ambitious & competitive family. Good references ESSENTIAL & confidentiality assured. You should be currently working as a Competition Groom on a Show Jumping yard or have done so within the last 2 years. You should be willing to travel home and abroad and experienced driving a 26t+ lorries transporting horses to training and shows. 18 quality jumping horses on the main yard and homebred/ other young stock destined for a career in SJ/jumping all kept in top accommodation to the highest standards. Start date negotiable.   Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email Caroline @carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
Salary 8.5 Euros/negotiable dependent on experience with no food/accommodation or utilities to pay. You will need some experience grooming competition horses One of the Most Professional SJ yards in the world – Learn your trade with the best and secure your Grooming future with a hands on job. All you need is a passport and an adventurous spirit! Enthusiasm and dedication to work along side the best horses, riders and horse people.This opportunity would be GREAT FUN and a second to none experience which would guarantee your career anywhere you chose in the future both home and abroad. A rare insight into world class horses, world class facilities and a truly remarkable experience for any groom seriously interested in getting to the top of their game. Whilst there are considerable opportunities for advancement and promotion possibilities if you wish to remain in Germany. 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
* Negotiable depending on experience but very competitive*Shared accommodation on site(would consider live-out) Experienced stud hand required to work with the rest of the team. This would be during yearling prep initially and then general stud duties after the sales season and is a year-round position, not seasonal. A team approach to typical stud work with associated stud hours ie: sometimes quiet and other times round the clock eg: foaling season. Tractor/lorry driving is welcomed but not essential Mares and foals/young stock/ racehorses all kept and some sales prep required etc. TB experience essential and ideally gained on a thoroughbred stud. Please call Caroline and the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com Please note call Caroline & the Team will be ‘screening’ suitable applicants between 9-2pm . Pls could call us during those times on 0203 006 573. Please make sure your job seeker profile is up to date and that you have a current CV attached. We look forward to speaking with you then about this super opportunity 🙂 C x
Job Description Jumping / Dealing stable We are looking for a jumping rider for our sales stable in the Lewitz. Your mainwork will be riding and a little stable work (feeding) together with your team. Showing young quality horses to our customers, under the saddle or in free jumping, is also one of your tasks.   If necessary you get help from our trainer and you gain a lot of experience in jumping. We offer regulated working hourses ( 8.00-17.00) and  the possibility to get breakfast and lunch at our farm. Our modern equipped accomodations we offer at a reduced rental price.   If you`re a cheerful and nice person, reliable and tidy, able to do a good flat work and you have experience in jumping, than we look forward to you! Minimum Requirements experience in  jumping young horses   Accommodation details You will be offered accommodation (single or double rooms) each equipped with a private shower, and in each house you find a washing machine and a dryer.There is free internet in the rooms. Rooms cost around 190 € per month, including electricity and water, breakfast and lunch around 156 € per month. Of cource, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning. Provide you with translating assistance during the doctor`s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need.   Benefits    
*Salary IRO 1800 euros *All accommodation and food provided *Seasonal position with far reaching CV improving benefits! This world class service station and stud is looking for experienced stud hands for the forthcoming season to be based in Muhlen, Germany. Some prior experience important as some serious unmatched warmblood breeding stock is involved in this operation names such as  Balou du Rouet, whose offspring’s prize money makes millions plus Sandro Hit plus stallions Fürstenball, Vivaldi, Bordeaux, Foundation, Vitalis, Sir Donnerhall I and Diarado were amongst the leading group of all German stallions according to the German FN’s 2016 predicted breeding value statistics. Last year stallions from Mühlen once again dominated the Oldenburg Elite Mare show and of the twelve mares presented, seven of them were daughters of this yard’s stallions, including the winner Candy OLD by Sir Donnerhall I. The list goes on and on and on! 🙂 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com  
**14/7/20 Position under offer. Applications accepted for reserve list  CC *** *IRO £22,500K + accommodation *2 bed house with own garden *Dog, pets and horse welcomed *Partner welcomed     Senior position available at picturesque Hunt Kennels. Year-round position to manage the yard, Groom/Ride and to head a team of 2 other FT workers (in season). Previous Stud Groom did 4 seasons so this is a long term opportunity in a lovely environment with nice people to work with.   Opportunity for sole charge and to make the job what you want it to be (within certain parameters of course as the job is to manage a yard of hunt horses and all that goes with that but it doesn’t have to be a dull job 😉.)   Must have all usual skills, abilities and experience including good levels of turnout skills, ability to work well with others and a license to drive a 7.5t lorry.   Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
Job Description In 1992, Paul Schockemöhle, a successful businessman and former European Show Jumping Champion, purchased a large site in the expanses of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On no less than 3,000 hectares of land in the heart of the protected landscape of the Lewitz, a centre for modern horse breeding which accommodates 4,000 horses and is unparalleled in Europe has emerged over the years. Around 250 employees look after the well-being of the horses, which are kept in spacious stables and in speciesappropriate herds in the expanses of the Lewitz. The riding stables entrusted with training the horses are three geographically separated farmsteads under a common organisational umbrella. At each of the individual sites, site managers look after the training of the horses with their teams. A jumping horse trained on the Lewitz stud runs through all three stations chronologically. The “Stern-Buchholz” site is outside the gates of the state capital Schwerin. The team headed by Birgit Brandsätter and Paulo Castro here is responsible for breaking in all the horses, as well as for the further training of the dressage horses and the preparation of the colts for licensing.   Accommodation details The stud’s own apartments, modern and practically furnished, give you affordable living space near your place of work and make it easier for you to form and strengthen social relationships even after you finish work. On request, you will be served breakfast and lunch in the stud’s own canteens.   Benefits Of course, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning, provide you with translating assistance during doctor’s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need. We will do everything to make your stay as pleasant as possible for you.  
**23/6/20 Under offer subject to reference checks*** *Salaries negotiable depending on experience IRO £23-£29K pa per person + accommodation. * 1 or 2 bedroom cottage with parking available *Pets welcomed *Own horse considered (but difficult as all boxes currently occupied) *5 day week. This family require a flexible, country-loving, reliable, self-sufficient and proactive couple with good communication skills ready to welcome all guests in a polite and friendly manner. Previous estate management experience essential for a combination of duties. Experienced and knowledgeable horse care also required as a family are not very experienced. There are two children are 10 and 8 years old and they purely ride for leisure, no competition whatsoever at this point but would like some escorted/lead hacks & informal tuition. Odd weekend off by prior arrangement in advance but as family visit most weekends,  they will not be regular occurrences so need to be prepared for weekdays off (2 consecutive days possible) : Outline Job descriptions: Housekeeping/House duties include but are not limited to Cleaning, washing and ironing, food shopping, household provisioning, household maintenance, overseeing contractors. Whenever somebody is in the house; be it, family or guests, the housekeeper will prepare lunch and dinner, (fresh healthy home cooking, lots of fish, vegetables, a variety of salads mainly based on European style dishes). The housekeeper is not required to serve the family however they will be required to clear away after meals and weather permitting some outdoor dining will need to be facilitated. Although the family like to entertain family and friends, most entertaining is informal. For any formal entertaining outside caterers will be available so communication, liaising and management of this will be a feature of the role. Grooming/outdoor duties include but are not limited to: Day to day management and maintenance of the property, yard and grounds which will include the gardens, greenhouse, vegetable garden, lawns and flower beds, (alongside contracted gardeners). Looking after chickens and rabbits & possibly other small animals/pets. Other duties will include general property maintenance, hence good DIY skills would be helpful. Management and maintenance of the estate car to fuel, clean and driving to the local station and airport for family and guests. The highest level of care to be provided for the family’s 4 horses 19-year-old 16HH owners horse who has recently developed allergies 17-year old small horses who need careful footcare and 2 x 10-year-old horses just short of 16HH and one has just recently had a bout of laminitis. Confident management and lightweight rider needed. All normal grooming duties will be required to a good standard ie: Feeding and watering, all aspects of yard work duties including; hay, muck out, turn out, groom, clip and bandage, recognising and acting on all animal ailments, cleaning the chicken coops/rabbit hutches etc. Keeping the yard, tack room and equipment immaculate at all times. Exercising the horses daily in menage or beautiful woodland which surrounds the property. Experience of trailer towing ideal. Light gardening, (FT gardener contracted) grounds, yard and property
*Accommodation available   *Competitive salary depending on experience  *Dog welcome *Great opportunity to get a foot in the door of the TB Stud World! This is a fantastic opportunity for a Groom who wishes to gain experience and enter the professional world of the thoroughbred Stud as a Stud Hand on this busy, medium sized, family stud. This operation is ambitious with a close knit professional and friendly team who we know well and who would all recommend. The role includes all normal yard duties, handling of mares, foals, young stock and horses out of training. Previous thoroughbred stud and sales preparation experience a bonus but not essential. Driving licence essential. 🙂 Caroline’s comments:) We have placed several staff with these employers over the years and had great feedback. A professional, well run establishment with a family feel. A great place to develop your career and be part of a small welcoming Team. Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com

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Information

Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd
The Stables
Fildyke Road
Meppershall
Bedfordshire
SG17 5LU

caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
0203 006 5730 / 07747 686 118

Registered company number 10657796good site
Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd is registered with the UK Information Commissioner as a data controller with registered number ZA250621

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