December 18, 2017

It Was The Best Of Times. It Was The Worst Of Times…

It Was The Best Of Times. It Was The Worst Of Times…

            With all the holiday rushing around your horse will often get put on the back burner. Between the shopping, cooking and picking up the kids time becomes a precious commodity. What should you do when you only have a few minutes to spend with your equine family member? Here are some ideas…

Scenario #1- Your faithful sidekick, Horatio-

            It’s a fine day weather-wise but you are running between appointments. With only 15 minutes to spend with your beloved gelding, Horatio, you get out your halter and lead and grab a hoof pick from your grooming kit. Go into his stall and take a look around. Make sure his droppings look normal, his water is clean and he has eaten all his breakfast. Next put on his halter, remove any clothing (fly masks, blankets, etc) then look him over carefully for any cuts or other issues. Clean his hooves, but save the complete grooming for a day you have more time. Now take your horse for a walk round the ranch, arena or round pen. Work on basic obedience such as stop, walk, trot, backing and turns. You can also do a little light lunging but don’t get him hot as you won’t have time to cool out properly. When time is up, return Horatio to the stall being sure to re-check his hooves. Give him a pat on the neck and a carrot and you are on your way!

Scenario #2- The Belle of the Ball-

            Today’s weather forecast is for rain. After you drop off the kids at school you have 15 minutes to check on “Belle” before your yoga class at the gym. As you pull into the driveway of the barn, the rain begins in earnest. You dash into the barn knowing the stalls are the only covered area on the ranch. Time to groom! Get out your halter, lead and grooming kit. Find a safe place in the stall to tie Belle or hold her. Start with your rubber curry and give her a through massage being careful not to rub too hard over bony areas like the knees, fetlocks, hocks, etc. Follow with your hard/dandy brush and soft/body brush being sure to work in the direction the hair lays. Brush out the mane and tail removing any shavings, dirt, hay and tangles you may find there. Next clean the hooves and apply hoof dressing if that is your routine. Finish with a wipe down using a soft towel spritzed with some fly spray or coat conditioner depending on the need of the day. When Belle is beautiful, do a quick check of the stall looking at droppings, water bucket and the overall condition of the stall. Send a short text message to the barn manager about the loose board above Belle’s feeder and you are off to yoga class. Just be sure to brush the shavings off your pants and change your shoes before you head into the gym!

Scenario #3- Self Serve Sassy-

            Its morning and you woke up late. You still have breakfast to make, kids to shuttle off to school, critters to be fed and get yourself off to work also. You keep Sassy Sally in your own backyard barn. Currently she is pounding on the stall door waiting to be served her breakfast. Normally you get up early enough to have plenty of time to spend with Sassy before the kids get up, but not today. At best you have 15 minutes to spend at the barn. What do you do? Pull on your boots and head outside. First grab Sassy’s morning ration of hay and grain. This will take very little time if you set it all up the night before, so it’s ready to go. Once Sassy has some feed she is kept busy while you enter the stall. Using a manure fork and muck tub remove all the manure and soiled bedding from the stall. Next, empty the remaining greenish water from her bucket and refill it with fresh water. Finally open the back stall door so Sassy can go out for the day. Put all your tools away, lock up the front stall door and head back to the house. Time to hit the shower and start the rest of your day.

            What is your scenario when you only have 15 minutes at the barn? What do you think is the most important thing to do for your equine buddy? Share your ideas.

            Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is an AQHA Professional Horseman, Certified Horsemanship Association(CHA) Master Instructor and CHA Clinic Instructor. Cheryl has been training horses, teaching riding and horsemanship for over 30 years. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but all rights to this article are reserved.


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