The pandemic brought some of us the opportunity to spend more quality time with our animal companions and, for some, it was the perfect time to bring a horse into their lives, possibly for the first time. With the return to “normal” around the corner, however, many horse owners may now be wondering how they will fare on their return to work.
The value of that human-animal relationship brings so much to both your health and wellbeing and your horse or pony’s in return. That special bond means so much to us, we shouldn’t have to compromise on quality time and looking after our horse or pony in our daily routine.
While this would be the case in an ideal world, not everyone’s job role will be suited to or offered flexible working as a permanent solution. That’s why Bransby Horses and World Horse Welfare have teamed up to provide their top tips for equine owners returning to work.
Sam Chubbock, Head of UK Support at World Horse Welfare said: “Juggling looking after horses with work and family commitments can certainly be a challenge, but it is usually achievable with care and planning. For example, if time is proving to be a problem you may be able to make changes to the way your animals are kept without affecting their welfare, although make sure any changes in their management are introduced gradually. If you have concerns about how you are going to fit everything in, or if it proves too difficult as you start to go into work more frequently, then don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Emma Carter, Executive Director of Equine Welfare at Bransby Horses said, “As more people return to the office, this brings with it an increase in commuter traffic and potentially less physical presence on yards. Plan your rides with traffic in mind, avoiding rush hours and look at alternatives to your current riding route. You may need to take steps to ensure your horse, equipment and yard are secure. A WiFi capable camera system so you can check in on your horse 24/7 may be an option to consider.
“Always ensure your contact sheet is up-to-date. If you are on a yard, it can be helpful to share this with them so they are aware of your key contacts – vet, farrier, etc. – so they know who to contact in an emergency.”
Top 5 Tips:
- Time management – Planning in advance as much as possible can help with your daily routine. Combine your gym workout with your horse jobs – multitask and be creative to continue that calorie burn!
- Buddy system – Arrange a sharing network within your yard environment or buddy up with someone for turn out, checking or feeding. Make sure you share in advance any essential contact details such as vets and farriers on your yard.
- Livery options – If your horse is currently stabled, could it be put out to grass? If they need to remain stabled, for some going to assisted or full livery might be an option.
- Exercise – Providing your horse with enough exercise is important for their health and wellbeing – you may be able to lunge or free-school on days when time is short, saving hacks for weekends.
- Shares – Finding someone to share your horse with so that fitness and quality time aren’t affected is an option some owners may wish to consider.
Time management is always a challenge for working horse owners but it can be done successfully. Finding what works for you is key as one solution will not be right for all owners. If you are struggling to adapt and would like free, non-judgemental guidance, contact World Horse Welfare or Bransby Horses on the numbers below:
World Horse Welfare – 01953 497 238
Bransby Horses – 01427 788 464
Bransby Horses was founded in 1968 by Mr Peter Hunt and is one of the UK’s largest equine welfare charities; dedicated to improving the lives of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
Find out more at https://bransbyhorses.co.uk/ or on Facebook and Twitter @BransbyHorses and Instagram @bransbyhorses