Keeping your horses yourself is essentially one long non-stop chorefest, but there are a few chores that are standouts for being basically the worst things ever. Kristen Kovatch counts down her personal list.
Horses are a lot of work, obviously. But while some of those nonstop chores are therapeutic — mucking stalls is as good as meditation, as far as I’m concerned, and there’s something I find incredibly rewarding about bucking hay every summer, as examples — there are a few that I absolutely, positively do not enjoy every time they come up in the rotation.
These four chores are basically THE worst.
Hanging gates: Look, unless you’re some sort of magician, this job is basically impossible without at least one friend and the patience of saints, plus the upper body strength to casually wiggle a 10- or 12-foot panel by fractions of an inch in the air while someone says “up… no, I meant down… wait… too far… down again… no, a little up… hang on…” If you can make it through without clubbing your friend in the head while they try to dictate how you should be holding up your end, good for you. But even that magical moment when both hinge pins set just so and the whole thing locks into place and swings freely is not enough to make up for that truly excruciating exercise in patience.
Putting sliding doors back on their rollers: Admittedly, this is a chore that can be easily avoided if you can avoid slinging your sliding doors too far or maintaining the little pieces that actually keep the thing from going too far in the first place, but the knuckle-busting process of wrestling a barn door back onto that little roller so you can actually close the barn up for the night goes on the list of “things that make me shriek out loud in abject frustration.”
Cobwebbing: I have yet to find the exact combination of hoodie sweatshirt, hat, safety glasses and bandanna tied bandit-style over my nose and mouth that prevents me from inhaling what I imagine is some terrible concoction of powdered spider webs, dust, hay chaff, dead flies and live spiders (admittedly, my horses don’t live inside, so I also don’t cobweb as frequently as I ought to without that impetus of immediate equine health forcing my hand). If you can cobweb and still look like not a crazy person covered in schmutz when you’re done, please share your secret.
Cleaning drains: This is THE WORST. There is no drain cover yet invented that does not still occasionally allow hay, dirt, partially-dissolved manure balls, extraneous mane or tail hair, mud, small rocks and whatever stuff you hosed off the dog when they came in smelling like death to wash down the drain and inevitably clog up the proceedings, meaning that every now and then you have to slip on a breeder sleeve, knowing full well that that sucker will break anyway in the next two minutes and you might as well just go in bare, and manually fish out all of that junk while getting yourself soaking wet.
What would you put on your personal list? Tell us in the comments section. Go riding!