4 Things I Do For My Horses That I Wish Someone Did For Me

Because adulting is hard.

Photo by Kristen Kovatch

There are some weeks where I know I’m taking on the world like a champion. I get up early. I get to the barn and put in a good training ride on my horse, come home and eat a good balanced breakfast, knock my workday outta the park, visit family, do some work in my vegetable garden, make a nice home-cooked meal and relax on the porch under another summer sunset.

Other weeks, I’m oozing sluglike out of bed several hours after I intended to get up and perpetually two steps behind for the rest of the day. I eat a slice of cheese for lunch and wash it down with cold coffee I never finished from breakfast. We cheat and order Chinese food for dinner and I find myself flopped on the couch whining “adulting is hard” while clutching a glass of wine.

On days like these, I kind of wish I had it as good as my horses. Here are a few aspects of my horses’ lives that I wish also applied to my own. (Or in reality, things that I wish I had the willpower to enforce on myself.)

1. I handle all of their nutritional needs and mixes their meals for them.

Getting a little too chunky? I’ll adjust feed as necessary for you easy-keeper Quarter horses. Need some extra calories? Don’t worry, I got your back, Jobber. Here is a nutritionally-balanced pan of feed with all of the vitamins and minerals and digestible fiber and fat and omega 3s and 6s and everything else that you need, horses, presented to you individually just the way you like it. While eating the exact same thing every day DOES get old after awhile for me as a human being, it would be really nice to have someone whip up a targeted meal plan for me that didn’t require me to actually have to think about it… or, you know, be put together enough to purchase all of the ingredients and cook it.

Yes, I’m aware I could hire a nutritionist AND a personal chef, but I have horses. Do you really think I’ve got the cash for this?

2. I make sure they exercise appropriately.

Okay, admittedly I have too many horses right now for me to be able to work all of them adequately, but my horse in regular training is on a fitness plan that blends flatwork with long hill walks, trail riding and cattle work to keep both body and brain engaged and progressing. The result is the slow transformation of Jobber from a fuzzy pasture pet to a muscular athlete who can go for a gallop happily, then slow to a walk on a loose rein, then go track cattle, then go trek across a creek and pick his way up a hill.

Really, what I need is not a personal trainer so much as an attitude transplant that would allow me to exercise myself as happily as Jobber goes to work every day.

3. They get regular farrier, vet and dental visits, plus grooming.

I’ve tried the argument that attending to these regular farrier, vet and dental visits, plus the equine chiropractor I’ve recently started seeing as well, sucks up all of the extra time in my life in which I could be scheduling my own doctor’s appointment for a general check-up. Unlike my horses, in which any slight deviation from the absolute normal is cause to call the farrier, vet and shaman, I assume that if I can still function relatively normally then there’s no cause for health concern. Where would I find the time between all of these equine appointments to sit in a doctor’s waiting room?

Disclaimer: take care of yourself, Horse Nation.

4. They’re given proper protection from the elements.

I may have worded this in a way that suggests I am routinely outside in direct sunlight slowly baking myself to death, or standing around in a blizzard waiting to die from exposure. Rest assured, readers, that I do have a comfortable, sound home with four good walls and a decent roof (okay, we did have some ice damming last winter and it leaked in a couple of spots — home ownership is hard!). But I’m also guilty of very silly things like tent camping in the snow (in my defense, this particular tent did come with a tiny woodstove) and spending too much time in the sun and forgetting to put on sunscreen.

But leave my horses out in the summer sun without UV fly masks? Spend a night where snow is predicted without an additional waterproof blanket, because I know those idiots will choose not to go into the run-in shelter? Oh no, we can’t have that.

The moral of this story: if you too find adulting hard, Horse Nation, just treat yourself like one of your own horses. Whatever it takes, right?

Go riding!

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