While perhaps not every equine blogger has a regular day job, a lot of us seem to have. This sport is too expensive to be unemployed. I am parked reluctantly at a desk from 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, and most of the time I just think all day about what I am going to do at the barn once I get off work.
Summer means changing at the barn is a bit uncomfortable, and occasionally wasp-riddled, so I leave my desk at work at 5 and change into barn clothes while still at work.
Then I sit in traffic for over an hour. Don’t anybody complain to me about your shitty commute. We all have them.
When I get to the barn, Eli seems to know it and I usually hear him nicker as I walk in, even though he’s on the farthest end from the parking lot. I open my tack locker and my trunk and put my stuff down in my trunk and go check on Eli and see if he’s eating okay and everything. Sometimes I pull him out right then, other times I get all of my grooming supplies and tack out first. We are lucky enough to have fans in our cross-ties, so I turn on a fan and get a little bucket of cool water for Eli, too.
Summer in Texas also means riding between noon and 7pm indicates you have a death wish. I take my time grooming, and find something to fuss with while tacking up as slowly as possible.
Yesterday, that was shortening Eli’s mane with a blade and scissors closer to his ears. He got a little nippier than usual after that. I swept up the mane bits before going on to more grooming.
Tacking up, I go with boots first, then saddle, then bridle …
I fuss over and double-check all of it repeatedly, much as I fuss over Eli while grooming, checking his coat, his mane and tail, his legs, his hooves, all for anything out of the ordinary. Same with the tack.
Rides vary from light hacks, to field/slope work, to more intensive flat work or cavaletti, to jump schools. Depending on how hard we worked, Eli may or may not get his front legs iced after a ride, but he will definitely get rinsed off. I graze him a little bit, then stick him back in front of a fan to dry while I clean tack. At the very least I clean my bridle, but sometimes condition my saddle and wash Eli’s boots. I usually clean my tall boots, too, while I’m still wearing them.
Most recently, I’ve noticed a dander on Eli’s shoulders that I am not sure of what it’s from. Old dirt & salt? Beginnings of sweet itch, because the bugs are terrible from the rains? It doesn’t rinse off, so I am going to try shampoo tonight. So far it’s just on his shoulders, but if it spreads or he starts losing hair, I’ll be using MTG on him and he will smell like brisket. He doesn’t seem itchy, so my guess for right now is that going from rain to intense heat has messed with his skin and coat a little and it needs some extra TLC.
I get to the barn 6 to 7 days a week, and this routine goes for M-F. What are y’all’s routines like? Do you alter your work schedule to accommodate barn & pony time?