When Mother Nature tantalizes you with hints of Spring, then squashes your hopes. Oh, and your horse is shedding.

Whether it’s the torrential rain or swampy ground (or both), spring can be difficult. By the time you get your horse out and tacked up, you’re a sight that would make George Morris faint. Or slap you. To cope, certain colours and fabrics can hide the muck and hair, and the right boots can make you just a bit more thrilled about wading through a bog to get your horse.

For those of us also subjected to downpour, a great raincoat is the best investment you could ever make. Look for ones with taped seams that will cover the nape of your neck when riding. As someone who lives and has worked outside in BC, I owe my life to my oilskin Australian Outback coat, whose cleaning instructions state: hose off. Whether you like natural or technical fabrics, there are many intelligent designs to keep you dry!

Black, the beloved staple shade of our sport, is actually terrible for hiding mud and dust. Become one with the crud by switching to mid and dark browns, think camel and espresso. Colours that are neither dark nor light will be a good balance of hiding light and dark stains and hair.

As for fabrics, go by the motto cotton is rotten. It’s great as a breathable base layer under rain gear, but it likes to absorb anything you put on it, and won’t get clean save for a trip through the washer. Softshell fabric is perfect for this weather, as you can literally wipe it with a damp cloth and it will end up (mostly) clean because it’s quite waterproof!

I’ll leave you with a life-saving tip from none other than my own Granny. Before you head to the barn, scratch a bar of soap. It’ll build up under your cuticles and prevent dirt from getting in. Afterwards, simply rinse it out with warm water and your fingers will be fresh as a daisies.