I keep my horses outside all year round - they are happy and honestly, inside board is just way too expensive, especially now that I have two. If I were to keep one in, I would have to play Sophie's Choice and pick a favourite, and no mother wants to do that. So outside it is.
I also like to keep them out in as big a field as I can. So when I go out in the dark, the only illumination comes from the moon. And moonlight isn't good enough to keep me from tripping over things I can't see in the dark. Or to figure out which blob in the distance is my blob.
Enter the head lamp.
|Not the actual one I have. This one was from a Google search.|
I bought them from Costco a couple of years ago. Well I'm actually working on my second pack, because when you are an idiot and think that you can hold it in your hand instead of putting it on your head and then drop it on the ice, you tend to break them more than you probably should. But on my head they work great and last a while.
At the beginning of the season when I start to go out in the field in the dark, the new horses generally think I am a space alien out to abduct them and give me lots of snorty noises and stink-eyes. But they get over it pretty fast. My guys might try to leave the first time I approach them, but when I talk to them they know it's me. So they run away faster. Just kidding.
The nice thing about having the light is that most blankets these days have reflective piping or binding on them. So I can easily distinguish my blob from across the field by their reflective pattern. This might backfire if everyone had the same blankets on (there was another horse last winter who wore a Rambo like Phantom, but they were buds and usually in the same vicinity so it didn't cause too many tromps out to the wrong part of the field).
Because the light is on my head it means my hands are free to deal with gates, or to hide in the hand-warming pockets in my winter coat as I drag my horse in.
It's also nice to use when I need to look at something funky on the bottom of my horse or on a foot. Again, it leaves my hands free to examine said funky thing.
It's such a useful thing that I'm surprised I don't see more people using one. Based on the number of times I have dropped one while it was in my hand and I was dealing with a horse lead, a gate, frozen fingers and trying not to wipe out on hidden ice, I wouldn't want to use the flashlight on my cell phone for fear of it hitting the ground. Maybe they don't want to look like a geek. But I'm too old to care. Making life easier is much more important to me.