Team Ross are straight back to work as we see in the new year.

February 1, 2022 2:00 pm by
Posted in Riders, Jayne Ross, News

Team Ross are straight back to work as we see in the new year.

“A very happy 2022 to you all. I can’t quite believe that the festive period is over already.

Whilst I am sure the horses enjoyed their time off over Christmas and the New Year, we are now getting them back in and it is all systems go as our routine starts again in earnest because early shows will start in March!

The horses who have been out in the field will begin by doing a couple of weeks of just hacking. After a prolonged time off I feel it is important to take time to build up muscle tone, harden horses legs and get them fit. If they have been doing nothing but playing in a field it takes time to get a horse back into shape to avoid injury – 4 or 5 weeks of road work, hacking out (on and off road) and hill work does the job. I find that the older horses love this and enjoy the routine. I think it is all very well for horses to be out doing nothing but sometimes they start to feel somewhat abandoned – even though ours are out in groups of 3 or 4 most are ready to come back in.

Once they are all back in we give them all an ‘MOT’, getting shoes put back on and having their teeth and backs checked and being wormed.
The routine hasn’t altered much since late last year, other than workloads increasing! Before Christmas we were each riding a couple of horses every day, we’re now all riding more, and the team are all back working their regular hours.

For the youngsters who were backed and out hacking during the latter stages 2021, they continue to hack and lunge, and some will go out to little dressage competitions to have a go round and see the sights. They go into the school a couple of times a week, then hack out once or twice, and then have a couple of days in the field. For the slightly spookier ones we tend to hack out with an older, more experienced horse, because the need to see the world as much as possible.

This time of year, measuring needs to be undertaken. From the age of four, all ponies, small riding horses, small and large hacks, lightweight and heavyweight cobs and small hunters have to be measured each year, ahead of their show registration in the spring. This practice must be done each annually until the horse reaches seven-years-old, whereby it then reaches its full life height. Additionally, a different official measurer (vets must have a registered measuring pad to perform the task) must be used each time a horse is measured; you cannot go back to the same vet two years in a row. The horses must be unshod for measurements, so if they have been shod for winter work, shoes must be taken off and feet prepared accordingly. Weight horses, i.e. the hunters and large riding horses, don’t have to be measured due to the fact they must exceed 158cm (circa 15.2hh).

We will start clipping shortly with those who have only had a few weeks holiday tackled first because they will be back into work quicker. The others are left until they start getting hot when working – they start off with lots of walking and the weather can get very chilly now.

One or two of the small hacks don’t need clipping so they get rugged up and will lose their coats naturally.

For those who haven’t done anything in a ring, they are introduced to the clippers quietly but soon become used to them, by the fact that they are used on the yard, the radio is on and there’s always some kind of noise in the background. The cobs in particular have to be completely unphased by clipping, as they are hogged every week or so during the season.

The horses get groomed every day as soon as they come in but we don’t bath a lot at this time of year because I don’t like to get them too wet during mud fever season. If we really have to then we let them dry off and only wash their feet if at all possible. When clipping we leave their legs on because it can give some protection against mud fever and cracked heels.

I’m afraid that the holidays are well and truly over!”

Jayne Ross,

7 time HOYS Supreme Champion and 5 time RIHS Supreme Champion