November 23, 2017

“A Day in the life of a Stable Owner”

DSC01625I’m a stable owner, horse trainer and riding instructor.  I am also sometimes a stall cleaner, tack cleaner and general barn help. I plan the lessons, pick the school horses, buy the tack, drive the tractor, run the business, answer the phones and do the accounting. I sometimes wear the hat of vet, farrier, counselor or therapist. The days get long and crazy but are always interesting and usually fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world! Here’s what my average day looks like-

6:00 AM- Wake up, let the dogs out and make the tea. I’m not a coffee drinker. Sometimes wish I was, but I do drink lots of tea. Hot tea, iced tea, lukewarm tea. If it’s tea, I love it. Well not green tea so much- but I digress. Time to put on the sweats and do some stretching exercises. As I get along in years, I find the exercises help me get in and out the saddle. It keeps my back happy after a few too many “involuntary dismounts”.  Just another part of my day.

7:00 AM- Change into jeans, t-shirt, barn shoes and head out to begin feeding the critters. We always feed the horses first because they are the most destructive. After they are settled down, we feed theAthena Fosnight goats, pigs, chickens and dogs. While feeding we do our first “barn check” of the day. A barn check will consist of making sure all the stalls doors are latched, horses upright, eating, breathing, no gaping holes and otherwise acting normally. We also make sure the automatic water buckets are working but not over flowing and adjust blankets or fly masks depending on the season.

Once the feeding and barn check is done, I head into the office to check my schedule for the day. I’ll also take the time to write down any phone messages that came in overnight, adjust the lesson schedule to reflect the cancellations that came in, etc. Then it’s turn on the computer to check email and Facebook for messages. I’m always surprised how many people will send messages via Facebook. Email I get, but Facebook? Really? I guess I’m just old.

8:00 AM- Finally time for breakfast for my husband and myself. Something quick that doesn’t require much cooking- cereal, fruit and perhaps a hard-boiled egg. We use this time to catch up a bit and plan our day. We’ll discuss what’s broken and needs immediate attention. What needs fixing but can wait. I’ll tell him my lesson schedule, horses to be worked that day, etc. He will nod, smile and act like he’s listening because he’s one of the good ones. Then he will head off to work.

8:30- Time for me to get ready for work. Brush hair and teeth, put on the first layer of sunscreen, change into riding boots and a (temporarily) clean work shirt.

8:45 AM- Time to head out to the barn. First lessons begin at 9:00 so students are arriving. Turn on arena sprinklers and make sure everything is set up. Greet students and assign horses.

9:00 AM- 11:00 AM- Lessons- Keep the students motivated, safe and learning. If those things are accomplished, it’s a good day. Keeping everyone on top helps as well.

10:30 AM- Assistant arrives and begins grooming and tacking up training horses. She will also lunge those who need a bit of a “buck out” before we ride.KT Yorba Linda 508 009

11:00 AM- My first mount of the day. I will ride 4-6 horses this morning. My assistant will bring them up saddled, warmed up and ready to go. She will also take the one I just finished with, cool it out, un-tack, groom and put it away. We trade off like this for the next several hours. Some of the horses she will ride. She likes the more “energetic” ones.

2:00 PM- Lunch time. Second barn check of the day before I head into the house. I take my lunch break in the office answering email and returning phone calls. I’ll also use this time to check for any new messages.

3:30 PM- Re-apply sunscreen. Afternoon lesson students arrive. We greet the students and assign horses. Lessons are usually on the half hour in the afternoon. 3:30 & 4:30. My assistant and I will usually split the arena down the middle and each take an end.  This keeps everyone in their own space and better able to concentrate on their own students.

steve on tractor5:00 PM- Husband or assistant feeds horses while I finish up the final afternoon lesson. We have to be careful not to use those horses who are very food motivated in the last lesson. They can be difficult for the students to get back into the stalls safely. If a horse acts up, we make sure we are there to help out.

5:30 PM- While the horses are all tucking into their dinners, the feed person does the third barn check.

6:00 PM- Dinner and time to relax. Of course I have to fix dinner so it’s usually something easy like salad and spaghetti. Not much time for fancy food here. I tend to pre-cook and freeze a lot. I especially like using the veggies and herbs from the garden.004 Then on work days I can just throw something into the microwave. It works for us.

7:00 PM- Evening lessons start. I don’t do these every night. Only one or two nights a week. On the other nights I usually catch up on office work, update the web site, return calls or emails and reschedule lessons that have been cancelled. That’s if all the horses got worked. If not, it’s back to the arena after lessons to ride some more.

9:00 PM- Barn closes. I’ll shoo out any lingering boarders and complete the final barn check of the day. Make sure all stalls are latched, that all the horses have eaten their dinner and seem healthy enough to be left alone for the night. Put on blankets if the weather warrants. Make sure all the other livestock is tucked in for the night. Turn off the lights, lock the doors and call it a day. I kept my goal of only working half-days. Yep, 12 hours of work and I’m done!

9:30- Finally time to take a shower and put on some comfy clothes. I might even watch some recorded TV shows. That’s if I can stay awake. It’s not unusual to find me asleep on the couch with the TV running.

11:00 PM- Off to bed. I hope for sweet dreams and that I don’t hear the clip-clop of hooves from an escaped equine during the night.

Catching some rays.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. She is also an AQHA Professional Horsewoman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 40 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 rights to publish this article and photos, in whole or in part, in any medium including but not limited to, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, etc. are reserved. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to www.crktrainingstable.com

 

How To Clean A Horse Blanket

Lace-with-blanket-300x225Spring has sprung. Summer is nearly upon us. The cool days and nights of winter are just a memory. The horses are shedding with a vengeance and your daily ritual of taking blankets on and off is over for the season. So what do you do with those smelly, stiff, dirty blankets? Now is the time to get them cleaned, repaired and ready for next year. The first step is to wash them. If you don’t have access to an industrial washing machine, this could pose a bit of a problem. Of course you could always send them to a service that will clean them for a fee. That can be an expensive option, especially if you have a large collection of blankets. A good, inexpensive alternative is to simply wash them at home. It’s not that difficult. Here’s how-

Find a large enough area of cement or asphalt to spread out your blanket. The area will need to have access to both an electrical outlet and water, preferably hot water. An area of driveway, barn aisle or wash stall works well. Gather all the necessary materials.

  • Your dirty blanket
  • A broom
  • An industrial or shop-type vacuum cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Metal polish and small clean towel
  • Scrub brush
  • Horse shampoo or equine clothes washing soap/detergent
  • Hose with a sprayer attachment and lots of water, preferably hot.
  • A place to hang the wet blanket to dry, such as a fence rail tall and strong enough to keep a heavy, wet blanket off the ground.

Once you have gathered all your material, make sure the floor is clean before you spread out your blanket.  Take the blanket outside and give it a good shake to scare off the spiders. Next, lay it out as flat as you can, out-side up. Open all buckles and remove any straps that you can, such as chest and leg straps. If you can’t remove them, make sure they are unbuckled. Check all the straps and buckles to be sure they are in good shape and the buckles still work. If the straps are chewed, rotted or the stitching is torn, you will need to replace them. Make sure the blanket is worth saving before you put too much work into it. If it will cost more to repair than to purchase a new blanket, it’s best to just discard it.

With the blanket lying on the ground, use the broom to sweep off any remaining cob-webs, dust, horse hair or debris. Now go over the blanket with the vacuum to remove as much hair, dirt and mud as you can. You can switch to a short table or rail for this step. Make sure to clean well over stitching and around the grommets that the straps run through. Once you have finished with the top of the blanket, flip it over and do the other side. Use the broom or scrub brush to help loosen anything that is stuck to the blanket. Be diligent here and it will save you time later.

Hang the blanket over your fence rail and sweep or vacuum as much debris away from the cleaning area as possible. You don’t want it finding its way back on the blanket. When you once again have a clean work space, it’s time to wash. Lay the blanket back down, inside up. Fill your bucket with warm water and whatever cleaner you are using. Don’t put soap directly on the blanket as it will be very difficult to remove later. Using the hose with a sprayer attachment, completely wet down the blanket.  Now dip the scrub brush into the soapy water and begin scrubbing the blanket just like you would a floor. Start at the front and work your way toward the back. Take extra care over stitching, grommets, etc. Once you have completely scrubbed the underside, use the hose and sprayer to rinse off all the soap, hair and other debris. Now flip the blanket over and repeat on the other side. Now is also the time to clean the straps. Be sure to move the adjustments and buckles around so you can clean all parts of the straps completely. Use your small towel and a bit of metal polish on the buckles, being careful not to get any on the straps.

Once the blanket has been completely scrubbed, rinse until the water runs clear and all soap bubbles are gone. Make sure you don’t leave any soap in the blanket or straps as this can cause skin irritations when the blanket is on your horse. After the blanket is thoroughly rinsed, hang it up to dry. Hanging it in the sun will help it dry faster, but may cause fading so choose your drying spot accordingly. Depending on the weather, it will take several hours to a few days to completely dry. You may want to flip it over a few times so it will dry evenly.

After it is completely dry, reattach all the straps you removed, fold it carefully and put it away for next year. Make sure to store it where it will stay clean, dry and vermin can’t use it for nesting material.  Large, plastic storage boxes with lids work well and you can store several blankets per box. Label each blanket with its size and the outside of the box with the size/color/type of blankets stored in each box. When the weather turns cool again, you’ll be ready for it!

CRK Training Times October 2013

CRK Training Times

Bits of News For Horse People

October 2013

 Welcome Fall!

 Happy Fall!

Important October Dates~

Oct. 14- Columbus Day- Lessons as usual

Oct. 27- Western Dressage Show- Norco

Oct. 31- Happy Halloween!!

Important November Dates~

Nov. 3- Daylight Savings time ends. Remember to set your clocks back!

Nov. 8- YLCR Banquet- No Lessons after 4:30 PM.

Nov. 11- Veterans Day- Lessons as usual

Nov. 28- Thanksgiving Day- No Lessons

Important December Dates~

Dec. 21- First Day of Winter

Dec. 24- Christmas Eve- No Lessons

Dec. 25. Christmas- No Lessons

Dec. 31- New Year’s Eve- No Lessons

Important January Dates~

January 1 2014! New Year’s Day- No Lessons

No Lesson Days~

No lessons will be held on the following days. Your account will be credited. Please make a note of it. If you would prefer to reschedule your lesson, please call the office. Thank You!

Friday Nov. 8 after 4:30 pm,

Thursday Nov. 28- Thanksgiving

Tuesday Dec. 24- Christmas Eve

Wednesday Dec. 25. Christmas Day

Tuesday Dec. 31- New Year’s Eve

Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014- New Year’s Day!!

___________________________________________

4h horseYorba Linda Cloverleafs 4H Horse Project~             

Do you want to learn all about horses?

Do you want to make lots of horse loving friends?

Do you own a horse and want to compete?

Do you not own a horse and want to compete?

HORSE PROJECT IS FOR YOU!

  • ·       Who should Join?- Horse lovers between the ages of 9-19.
  • ·       Who teaches the project? Leader- Athena Fosnight: 4H State Champion English Rider, State Champion in Horse Bowl, Hippology and Demonstration. Asst. Leader- Cheryl R. Kronsberg: Former Horse Project Leader, Master Riding Instructor and AQHA Prof. Horsewoman
  • ·       What happens at Horse Project Meetings? Each month will have a different topic to learn. Members will also play games, work with horses, go on field trips, make friends and have fun!
  • ·       When are the meetings? The YL Cloverleafs meet on the 2nd Monday each month. Horse project meets the 2nd Friday of the month.
  • ·       Where are the meetings? Horse Project will meet at CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda.
  • ·       How much does it cost? Horse & Pony project cost just $10.00 for the entire year + 4H membership fees.
  • ·       Do I need a horse to join? No, horse ownership is not required, but it helps! You do need your own horse to ride in 4H Horse Shows.

How do I sign up? Attend the YL Cloverleafs meeting at the YL Library on October 13th @7:00 pm or contact the leaders by calling or emailing CRK Training Stable.

 CHA Region 10 Conference~

            The CHA Region 10 Conference for 2013 is now history. If you missed out, you missed a lot! We had wonderful weather which is very important in Norco! Our speakers and presenters were fabulous. Many people came from far and near to attend. We even has someone come all the way from Arizona!

            The silent auction was great fun. The bidding got fast and furious during the last few minutes with many bidders being denied their prize at the very last second. I’m reluctant to report that I may have overspent my budget, but at least I came home with some very nice items! The trivia contest was greatly enjoyed with everyone who participated learning something new.

            All the riders had a wonderful time riding at this spectacular facility. They benefited significantly from the information and new skills they learned. It was a fantastic day of equine education for spectators, horses and riders alike.

            Start planning now to attend next year’s Conference. Tentative plans are to hold it at the same location  in Norco during the final weeks of September. So mark your calendars now!  

Horse Show News~

It’s a good thing we had a break in the show season. I’d have hated to show during this crazy, long heat wave! Congratulations to Caroline Ong and Justice for winning the YLCR English W/T Year End High Point!!! Be sure to ask to see Caroline’s shiny new award buckle!!  

We Did It Again! New Horse~ 

Charlie

         Another new, long face has arrived at CRK.  Charlie was just purchased. He’s a Pinto gelding, 14 hands, bay tobiano, 12 years old. Charlie is very sweet, kind and honest. He loves to go out on trail and even jumps! Charlie is big bodied enough for adults and gentle enough for kids! Be sure to look for Charlie the next time you’re at the barn! He should be working in the lesson program very soon!

New Group Lessons~

            Now that the kids are going back to school it’s time to shake up the lesson schedule a bit. The following new group lessons began in September. If you have been recommended to go into group lesson, pick one and sign up today! All group lesson riders must be capable of catching, tying, grooming, tacking, cooling out, un-tacking and putting their horse away without supervision.  Call Cheryl to sign up today!

            Saturdays- 3:00-4:00pm- English or Western, Level 3+. Riders must be confident at walk, jog/trot, and canter/lope. During this class riders will learn to recognize leads and begin working over poles at trot and canter/lope. This class has room for 3 riders.

            Saturdays- 4:00-5:00 pm. English or Western Level 2+. Riders must be confident at walk, sitting jog/trot and posting trot. During this class riders will begin working toward canter and become more confident at recognizing diagonals. This class has room for 6 riders.

Blanket Season~

Blanket service will be available beginning October 1, 2011. If you sign up for blanket service, CRK staff will manage your horse’s blanketing needs. CRK Training Stable staff blankets according to the temperature, not according to the clock. Blankets are put on or taken off when the temperature is approximately 55-60 degrees. Blankets may be left on or off as weather conditions warrant.

Blanket service is billed on a monthly basis only. Partial months will be charged $3.00 per day. To request blanket service for your horse(s), please fill out a blanket service request form and place it, with payment, in the payment mailbox. The appropriate charge will then be added to your future statements. 

Full service: $70.00 mo. -Includes putting the horse’s blanket on in the evening and removing it in the morning.($30.00 if the horse is in full training.)

Partial service: $40.00 mo. – Includes removing the blanket in the mornings OR putting it on at night.  

Vacation blanketing: $3.00 per day (am & pm)

Emergency blanketing or removal $5.00 per occurrence. You must call to request emergency blanket service. Keep in mind that we are not always on the ranch and may not be available.

            CRK Stable reserves the right to charge extra or deny blanketing service for difficult or uncooperative horses. An extra charge may also apply to train horses to stand to be blanketed.  

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you and your horse!

 Quotable Quotes~

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill

 “Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” – Samuel Johnson

       That’s all folks!

 

Let’s Blanket Your Horse!

Lace with blanket

Let’s Blanket Your Horse!

You are ready to blanket! You made the decision to blanket and purchased the correct ones. It’s time! My horses are usually kept blanketed due to their work schedule. My school horses often do lessons in the evening and are sweaty afterward. My students can put their blanket on and don’t need to spend hours walking them. I have one mare, Lace that needs to be shaved because she grows a very heavy coat. Lace also wears a shoulder guard to prevent blanket rubs. The kids call it her “sports bra”.

All of my horses have three blankets- a day sheet and two mid-weight stable blankets. I live in Southern California and the stalls are fully covered, so no real weather issues here. I always have extra blankets on hand in case a client’s horse breaks his blanket or it becomes too soiled to use. I blanket according to the temperature, not time of day. I often see people removing their horse’s blanket as they dash off to work in the morning. That may be fine some days, but often it’s colder when they take if off than it was when they put it on! Not the best time to be removing a blanket, don’t you think?  We check the thermometer several times each day and put blankets on or take them off when it gets to about 60 degrees. If it is a cool, rainy day the blankets may stay on all day. If the blankets are on during the day, I check them often to be sure the horses aren’t too hot. Some horse’s blankets are removed before the temperature hits 60 degrees because it’s heavier or they have a long coat. Other horses will wear their blanket  later in the day because they are shaved or the blanket is lighter weight.  This is how we conduct the Blanket Service at CRK Training Stable. If you or your barn managers aren’t doing these things, perhaps it’s time for a change.

When blanketing your horse always remember- Safety First! Make sure you can control the horse. The last thing you want is to get kicked or have the horse walk away with the blanket half on and the straps dragging under him. If you need to put on a halter and hold the horse, do it. If you need a helper, get one. There is lots of potential for both horse and handler to get hurt here. Better safe than sorry.

Next, determine if you are going to put the blanket over the horses head or not. If it’s a closed front blanket, you don’t have a choice. Over the head it goes. If it has front straps that stay closed, make sure they are buckled and adjusted for the horse.

Follow these simple steps to put a blanket on over the horses head.-

1. Hold the blanket in front of the horse like a bib. If you are holding the horse, put the lead rope through the blanket first. Then, gently and quickly slip the closed front section or chest-straps over his head.

2. Pull the blanket up onto his back and smooth it all the way to the tail.

 

Putting it in place on the back.

 

Pull it all the way back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Buckle the belly straps according to their configuration.

4. Attach the leg straps last.

 

Buckle the belly strap.

 

Buckle both leg straps from the left (near) side.

 

 If you have an open front blanket, the steps are slightly different. Here’s how-

Fold the blanket into thirds widthwise.

Gently swing the folded blanket onto the horses back like you would a saddle. Leave it folded on the horses back.  If your horse won’t tolerate a flying blanket, gently place the folded blanket on his back and adjust from there.

 

Place the folded blanket on the back.

 

Pull it far enough forward to buckle the front straps securely.

 

Buckle the front straps.

 

After the front is buckled, pull the blanket all the way back to the tail. Then continue as above.

 

Smooth the blanket into place.

 

 

 

A Note on Straps-

Blanket straps come in lots of different configurations. The straps on the blankets always seem to be some sort of elaborate puzzle designed to confuse and confound horse owners. Front straps– These straps should close the blanket completely but not be so tight as to choke the horse. Even on open front blankets, I usually leave these straps buckled and pull the blanket over the horses head.  Side Straps– The simple explanation is this: If the straps are set at an angle (like an open V), they need to be crossed under the belly. If the straps are set straight up and down ( I I ) , they don’t cross. If there is only one, you should be able to figure it out yourself. If you have a gelding or stallion be sure the straps don’t put pressure on his sheath. You don’t want him to stop urinating because the straps are preventing him from “dropping”. Leg Straps- Most blankets these days have leg straps that go around the hind legs. These straps are important because they keep the blanket from shifting. I personally prefer the type that can be detached from the blanket completely. If they break, they are easily replaced. I have even been known to use bailing twine in a pinch. I also like that they can be buckled without having to go to the off (right) side of the horse. This saves time when I have 20 horses to blanket and is much safer. Some horses really object to being blanketed. I don’t want to give them a chance to demonstrate their displeasure by landing a well placed kick as I squeeze behind them. Or pinning me to the wall while I’m reaching for a strap. Even the kind, gentle ones might be annoyed at having to leave their dinner so you can get to the other side and buckle straps. This can lead to blanketing issues that I would rather not create.  To cross or not to cross? I cross the leg straps on geldings (i.e. Left strap goes between the hind legs and attaches on the right side and vise-versa).  I don’t cross the straps on mares (Right strap goes between the hind legs and attaches on the same side). Crossing the straps keeps the blankets on better, but on mares, not crossing the straps keeps them cleaner due to the mare’s anatomy. If you have any more questions about that, call me.

It’s time to take the blanket off-

To remove the blanket, remember- Safety First! Halter the horse and hold or tie as needed.

1. Unbuckle the hind leg straps first, belly straps second and the chest straps last.

 2. Fold the blanket in thirds as you move it from the tail to the withers.

3. Remove the folded blanket, either off the horses’ side or over the head.

 

To Remove: Pull the blanket up from the hip.

 

 

 

Fold it in thirds to the withers.

 

Store the folded blanket away from the horse. One of my horses thinks they make a tasty afternoon snack. Others believe they make wonderful throw rugs and lousy stall-wall hangings. Still others prefer to ignore them and hope they go away altogether. Either way, be sure your blanket is stored in a way to keep it safe and clean. With proper care, blankets can last many years making them a very worthwhile investment.