4 minute read
It’s hard to believe winter is right around the corner, but my horse’s coats, starting to get fuzzy, don’t lie.
Somehow, horses have this amazing, innate ability to intuitively know winter is coming, and their bodies take the necessary steps to prepare them for the drastic changes of seasons.
Us equine professionals on the other hand.. well, we have to think ahead and prepare.
Over the years working as an equine massage therapist, I’ve learned some tips (the hard way) to take me from freezing cold, shivering at work to staying warm throughout my 8 hour days.
Here are my top 18 tips to help you stay warm this winter while working in the barn.
1. Decide what temperatures you're willing to work in.
Post your winter weather policy to your website, social media(s) and Policies Form. Include what temperatures and weather conditions you do not work in so clients know what to expect. Ex. 'Appointments with weather below 30 degrees or snowing above 2" will be rescheduled.'
~ Pro tip: Update your EquiPro appointment reminder messages in settings to include your winter weather policy as well.
2. Make sure you have an enclosed building to work in.
The wind will chill you faster than the temperature. You need a place to work that keeps the wind off you. Avoid working outside in open fields or open door barns.
3. Take frequent breaks in a heated space.
Aim to spend 5-10 minutes warming up between horses in the tack room, barn kitchen or your car. At the very minimum, take a 10 minute warm up break every 2 hours.
~ Pro tip: Spend that time completing your session reports!
4. Pack an arsenal of extra clothes & layers.
Keep hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, coats, pants in a tub in the trunk of your car.
5. Bring hot hands or a rechargeable hand warmer.
Keep in your pockets and warm your hands frequently!
Hot Hands ~ https://amzn.to/3AL6gTP
Rechargeable Hand Warmer ~ https://amzn.to/3Bg5Ia4
6. Bring hot liquids to drink.
Pack hot chocolate, hot coffee &/or hot tea in a thermos to warm you up from the inside as you work.
Travel Thermos ~ https://amzn.to/3Rlcjp6
7. Pack a hot lunch.
Bring some warm soup or chili in a thermos to warm you up on your lunch break.
Lunch Thermos with Folding Spoon ~ https://amzn.to/3KNSzYP
8. Don't wear tight, restricting clothing.
Clothing needs to be loose fitting so it doesn't cut off your circulation.. which will lead to you getting cold much faster.
9. Wear a base layer of warm thermals.
Thermals help keep you warm and trap your body heat in.
Fleece Thermals ~ https://amzn.to/3RDboA0
10. Get an insulated jumpsuit for working in.
I wear a Redingote and love it. A lot of practitioners love Carhartt as well. You can get bib overall style, or a full jumpsuit style with the arms included.
Redingote Equestrian Jumpsuit ~ https://www.redingoteequestrian.com/collections/all/products/hooded-winter-insulated-jumpsuit-thyme
Rocking my Redingote jumpsuit.
11. Invest in heated socks.
Once your toes go, it's over, so keep ‘em warm.
Heated Socks ~ https://amzn.to/3Qpkv6E
12. Get a heated vest.
If you have some extra money, heated vests are a kick ass way to keep your core warm.
Heated Vest ~ https://amzn.to/3RTkcCf
13. Wear insulated boots.
Depending on where you live, how cold it gets & how cold you get, you may want to wear a pair of insulated boots while you work.
Insulated Boots ~ https://amzn.to/3wVZCsA
14. Protect your head.
Heat escapes the fastest out of your head, so it's important to keep your noggin covered - including the ears. I personally find that a fleece headband works great, isn't as bulky as a hat and I can pull my ponytail out the top.
Fleece Headband ~ https://amzn.to/3QhrM88
15. Bring a heated blanket.
Put a heated blanket on the horse’s back - not only does it warm their muscles for bodywork, but you can slide your non-working hand under it to keep it warm. Clients love it too because they feel like their horse is getting a little extra TLC.
~ Pro tip: Don't forget an extension cord!
Heated Blanket ~ https://amzn.to/3wRzDmf
16. Try out heated towels.
Warm, heated towels are another great way to warm up the horse's back or close out the session. The horses LOVE this, and if you use massage oils, they make the barn smell like a spa!
Portable Towel Warmer ~ https://amzn.to/3ARZ9su
17. STAY DRY!
Do not work outside if it's sleeting, slushing, snowing, etc. That is a guaranteed way to freeze fast.
18. Take a hot shower as soon as you get home.
And keep an extra heated blanket at your house to cozy in after your hot shower while you sip on some hot tea.
Do you have any other winter tips or tricks that help you survive working out in the barn? We’d love to hear from you, send us an email and let us know your winter hacks @ firstname.lastname@example.org!