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Most of us don’t ride in our “spare time.” Rather, we carve time to ride out of a schedule that’s already overly crammed with obligations and responsibilities. Any tips for making barn-time as efficient as possible?
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My horses live at home and I love walking right out my back door into the pasture, but sometimes it’s a real bummer when you’re solely responsible for feeding, etc. Something I do to save time is prepare all the feed for the next day the night before. Typically I’ll put out the evening feed and while my boys are all engrossed in licking their tubs clean I’ll go in the feed room and prepare all their meals for the next day in little feed buckets (my 29yo QH gets a breakfast, lunch, and dinner!) and then the buckets spend the night stacked up in the mudroom and get fed out accordingly the next day. Usually by the time I’m done with that they’re all done licking and I pick their buckets back up, check everyone once more and give goodnight smooches.
My horse usually isn’t fed by the time I get to the barn (both morning and afternoon) so I give her a bit of a pre-ride snack and while she’s munching, I get out all my gear. Then when I’m done and give her her full breakfast / dinner, I clean tack and tidy up the mess I made. By the time she’s done, I’m done, and I throw her out and we’re ready to go.
I work full-time, am a mom of a four-year-old, and a wife to a rather active husband that really values ‘family time’ and family dinners. So, I ride at night, after my son goes to bed, but I often have to make it quick because the barn I board at closes at 10, lights out of the arena at 9:30. In order to make this happen, I have to keep my tack locker EXTREMELY organized. I built mini-shelves, and everything has a place, a hook, a spot, whatever. Treats are here, first aid is there, boots are on this shelf, fly spray is on that shelf. And when I untack and put things away, I do it in a certain order so it’s easier. (if I’m not distracted by chatting with my barn buddies). I even have the compartments of my brush box organized. Call it OCD, but it works! After a while it just became routine, so I save the fun crazy impulsive stuff for when I’m riding.
During hot weather, I ride before work. To save time I tack my horse up in the field. Why bother bringing him in? If it is just him and one other horse out in his field, I just ride in that field so everyone is happy. Then I use the hose for the water tub to rinse him off. The challenge is having enough hands to carry all the stuff out to the field in one trip!
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