Monday, February 15th, 2016



SPringCleaning

Maybe I’m rushing it, but the forecast is for warm, okay seasonally warm, weather for the next two weeks. It’s only five weeks before it’s officially spring and only four weeks before that National Holiday for horse people – Daylight Savings Time – begins.

In the midst of all this excitement about being able to spend more time with the horses, a very important event needs to take place – Get everything ready! Or, it’s spring cleaning time! Time to go through everything we stashed or meant to take care of as the weather got colder, and never got around to. Time to make sure everything is in working order and supplies are available.

Let’s start with the trust supply cabinet

Toss any supplement or med that has an expiration date on it. Some may be good for up to six months to a year past the expiration date, but, unless you are certain or your vet said it’s okay – toss it. Some meds lose their effectiveness and are useless.

Is it cloudy, solidified, or otherwise deteriorated? Shampoos, conditioners, and other liquid supplies may just go bad after sitting on the shelf for a while. If it doesn’t look right or smell right – toss it!

Never touched, never used. We all buy things that we think we’ll use on our horse and only use it once, or it floats to the back of the cabinet and we forget about it. If it falls into either of these categories AND it is still good – box it and donate it to a horse shelter.

Tack room or trunk

Take a good look at your lead lines, halters, saddles pads, and other equipment. Is it frayed beyond repair? Toss it. Can it be fixed? Keep it but put a date on it. If it hasn’t been fixed in a period of time, let’s say two months, either toss it or donate it – provided it is still safe or okay to use.

Wash or clean what you will keep. Nothing is better than starting the riding season with clean, fresh equipment! You may also want to make a list of the items that need to be replaced.

Set up a polish day with your barn buddies. Take an afternoon to clean your saddle and bridle before the season starts.

And don’t forget the grooming bucket! This is actually a monthly chore at our barn – but it belongs here as well. Clean those brushes and disinfect them. Your horse is only has clean as the brushes you use.

Trailer

If you haul your horse to shows or trails, now is the time to get the trailer checked out. Take it to a reliable mechanic who will check the wiring, brakes, lights, and tires. Too often the barn mice make a meal on exposed wiring. Tires will dry rot even if you hardly use your trailer.

Have the flooring checked, too. Urine and manure can get under the mats and cause the trailer floor to deteriorate. And give it a good wash and wax. Now, you are set to go!

Barn work

Again, clearing cobwebs need to be done monthly, but it is a high priority on the spring cleaning list. The spiders were certainly busy while we were away. Cobwebs collect dust and are a fire hazard, so, here’s another “barn party” to coordinate. Long handled brooms and friends will help complete this job quickly.

How about you? How will you get ready for spring this year?

Linda Watson is the owner and head riding instructor at Pretty Pony Pastures. Visit the website for details on all the lessons and activities at this facility.
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Grooming a Haflinger at Hug-A-Horse Day

Grooming a Haflinger at Hug-A-Horse Day

With Valentine’s Day on a Saturday, we decided to host a Hug-A-Horse Day so parents could bring their horse-crazy child for an hour with a horse.

We had nine participants.  Each session was limited to four, so this worked out quite nicely.  We asked some of our volunteers to help out for the day. 

 First the riders received a short safety lesson.  Then they got to groom the horse and see how to braid the mane.  Next they went to the activities room to make a salad treat for the horse they would ride.  Lastly, they entered the arena and got a riding lesson.  Every one had a great time.  Some of the riders will be coming back for riding classes, too.

At the end of the day, all the volunteers received a rose…make from Hershey kisses…as a Thank You for spending Valentine’s Day with the horses.hershey-roses


Good Morning America plays in the background while I work in the morning.  Today they had Drs. OZ and Roizen on the show discussing the “YOU: Being Beautiful”.   As usual, I listen with one ear, just in case they say something interesting.

Posture!  They started talking about posture and why good posture is important.  Next thing I hear is to pretend there is a string at the top of your head and your shoulders are back, and, and, and.  HEY!  That’s what I teach during my horseback riding classes.  How to stack the spine for good balance.  Now he’s saying the same thing about posture.

When I was young, we would stack books on our head and walk around, being careful not to drop the book.  But, if the noted doctor is using my metaphors on what good posture looks like, then, LET’S RIDE for good posture and forget the books!