Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things that make my day easier...

I was thinking today about some of the little odds and ends (or not so little odds and ends) that really keep my day going. Without some of this stuff, tasks would take twice as long or not get done at all. These are all part of keeping a working event barn running day in and day out. What are some of the things that keep your barn afloat that perhaps you take for granted each day?

Heavy Duty Washer and Dryer

Seriously, we go through a gallon of laundry detergent a week and usually do up to five loads of horse laundry a day. This includes poop covered sheets and blankets, wraps, polos, saddle pads, and towels...lots of towels. We probably have the most complete collection of towels you could ever find. Somehow, our washer and dryer manage to stay running and get even the dirtiest turnout blankets clean in only 45 minutes a load. And even when I forget to empty the lint trap for you know, months, the dryer doesn't blow up, which I greatly appreciate.

The Equissage, Laser, and Magnetic Blanket

Seriously, we have the tools to become a mini rehab facility. I use the Equissage (aka The Vibrator) on nearly every horse before every's quick and easy and can warm up a back in the time it takes me to slap on a bridle, boots, and hoof polish. It's also pretty portable and goes with us to events. The batteries last for at least three horses a piece and recharge in the span of an hour.

The Laser was just revived out of storage and is Monkee's new best friend. For just 20 minutes a day it makes his lips wiggle and his muscles's really an awesome machine to watch work, it has his back muscles jumping all over the place and he leans right into it and starts licking and chewing. Best investment EVER. It's also wicked lightweight and easy to use.

The Magnetic Blanket is used sparingly but is a really useful tool on a body sore horse. It covers from ear to tail and only takes 30 minutes a day. Aside from hefting it onto a 17 hand horse, it's super simple to use and fairly lightweight material so the horses don't bake in it.

The Boys

Basically, this category could either make or break my whole day. The boys, when they're actually trying, are invaluable. They get the stalls cleaned in the morning so I can focus on getting horses ready to work, they do all the boring landscaping work and manly tasks (like blowing the driveway or weed eating, yuck), they occasionally go the extra mile and clean windows and feed tubs and stall walls....and most of all, they clean the tack, which would literally take me ALL AFTERNOON if I had to do it on my own. So yeah, when they're not texting/jamming to Mexican jams/telling me they want to kill me one day/tearing up the front lawn in the golf cart/leaving the horses baking in their 10 layers of blankets...they're all right.

And finally....

The Horses (especially Flaggy, Monkee, and BooBoo)

Seriously, it wouldn't matter HOW bad of a day I'm having, these three knuckleheads keep me smiling and laughing and generally feeling WICKED blessed. Flaggy spent a good ten minutes today grooming me. Monkee is always perfectly wonderful and precious. BooBoo got a really thorough grooming today since it was a rainy day and I had extra time, and he looked so handsome when we were done :)

More rain tomorrow it appears....I mopped the tack room floor today, which means I have personally exhausted all of my petty rainy day tasks. That probably means I will be staring at the ceiling all.night.long in an effort to come up with more petty rainy day tasks for tomorrow. Good thing the Boss has a few Ambien on his desk. They're mine now. :D

God Bless!

Exciting Wednesday

It’s another cold, rainy, miserable day in SoPines…NC is getting the hang of this craptastic weather. Its one of those days where the barn looks messy no matter how clean it is and you feel tired no matter how much sleep you get. Alas, it’s always a good chance to do extra things that I usually don’t have time for, such as writing about dog and cat food. I’m not joking, actually, but nice try ;) I have a family of picky eaters. Gretchen (my rescue mutt from the pound who is still learning how to be a dog) will go on fasts that last for days. I had found a semi-solution to that problem with Taste of the Wild, a brand carried by our local feed store. It comes in delicious flavors like bison, but is also $45 a bag. A bit steep, especially with my pocketbook. This time I went out on a limb in Wal-Mart and spend a good 20 minutes taking up the entire aisle with my cart full of delicacies like Snack Cakes and Pizza Rolls and brand-name Pepsi (only because I splurged) while I decided on the right brand to try. Finally, I decided on PurinaOne Smart Blend and only because it LOOKED delicious on the bag and was $21, a fair price. When I emptied it into her feed bin at home, I was tickled pink…it looks just like hunks of deliciousness and she dove RIGHT in and has been eating like a total champ. Yay, yay, yay! Now for the cats. Armani has been vomiting undigested food for about a month and a half now. After countless vet visits and prescription drugs that did nothing, I decided he just eats too fast and upsets his stomach. So I started cooking little pieces of chicken for him…like started giving him just broth to eat…then teaspoons of wet food at a time..and now he’s slowly back up to a semi-normal diet. Jinx, his overweight sister, now has to be locked in the bathroom at meal time so he can’t scarf her food down, too. So I was looking for something that was for digestion and found Purina Cat Chow Naturals, which doesn’t have icky dyes in it and supposedly helps them retain nutrients. Whatever, they’ll eat anything, the proof is in the pudding (er, vomit or lack thereof). So I mixed up a handful of the dry food with 1/3 can of Fancy Feast and ½ can of water and so far, so good…they both love it and haven’t had any vomiting episodes. SCORE! So yeah, after all of that deliberation, I’m feeling pretty darn good about my choices. After $150 on groceries (and one trashy magazine) my pocketbook isn’t feeling so great, but she’ll rebound in no time. ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Welcome to Me!

Welcoming myself back into Blogland after a very brief hiatus. I felt the need to create something like this after losing Aidyn...I have wanted to WRITE but I didn't want to write about non-Aidyn things on Aidyn's blog. So, I have retired his blog ( if you feel like reading about his short but wonderful life) and started a new journey...this time a serious one to get back into the competition ring. I have been a barn manager since August 2010 and have learned an IMMENSE amount about the sport and horse management since I started, and I finally feel like I'm really ready to get serious about showing again. My other (side) goal is to become the kind of barn manager that people write articles about in the Chronicle of the Horse, but I figure I can achieve that alongside my new riding goals ;) So as of now, the search is on for a free lease. I have a few options that I'm interested in, but don't want to rush into anything. No horse can take Aidyn's place, obviously...he's got a chunk of my heart forever, and he was way too special to replace. I just am not the mopey type of mourner, and the longer my saddle gathers dust, the longer I will be wanting to be mopey...thus the search is on. Luckily for me, I have a ton of amazing opportunities sitting outside my front door...and even luckier, my boss is generous in letting me trot those opportunities on a regular basis. I usually get to do a trot set on one horse a day, whenever it's that horse's time for an easy day. It's a good chance to sit on a lot of different types of horses and learn how to get the most out of them. Today I got to trot an ex-advanced horse that my sister now competes at Training level. He is notoriously a tense, tight horse, the kind of horse I usually have trouble on because I just want to take my leg off and hope for relaxation. He was feeling good today after a day off yesterday, so I let him hack out on the buckle for about 10 minutes before we attempted a trot in a nearby field. He likes to put his haunches right and it's important to almost overbend him to the right to push his haunches left, and then counterbend to the left. He was a little quick and running in the trot but I tried to keep my hands soft and just concentrate on bending, bending, bending and lots of half-halts and slow posting. He was a good boy but I think it's gonna take more time for me to figure him sister rides him brilliantly and makes it look so much easier than it is! He was quiet to hack home and seemed very happy when I cleaned him long as he's happy, I'm happy!

On another note, BooBoo got to have a long hand graze today and was alert but controlled...his coat looks incredible and he's fat and shiny again after his brief weight loss earlier in the year. He looks amazing and takes my breath away..can't wait for him to start work again. Maybe this week???.....

Supposed to receive a phone call about a free lease opportunity today...we shall see. Fingers crossed...God Bless!