Thursday, July 7, 2011

my barn routine

I rough-board so I am at the barn every day to take care of Lucy and do barn chores. At first I thought being a rough boarder would be like a death sentence to my freedom. I HAD to be at the barn everyday. I HAD to muck her stall no matter how hot or how cold the air temperature was. I HAD to lug her water buckets out of her stall to scrub and clean them, and then I HAD to fill them back up and lug them back to the stall. God, how terrible!

Well wouldn't you know, I actually love doing all these things now. In fact, I had the option to do full board at this new barn for not much more money than I'm paying when everything's added up to be a rough boarder now, and I chose to stay on rough board. I am heavily invested in Lucy's health and level of care and I am a bit neurotic about making sure everything is done to my liking. Take my stall cleaning routine, for example:

Lucy's stall is the third on the left. The first stall belongs to a little pony named
Tony, the second is Boe's, the fourth is reserved for an incoming boarder,
and the last is a wash stall.

This is pretty typical for Lucy's stall after she's spent
a night in there. Manure is everywhere!

My first step is to clean the stall thoroughly and then sweep back all of the
leftover bedding.

I throw down powdered lime to neutralize any of the acids that are left on the
stall mats, which helps keep odor to a minimum.

If the stall needs to have bedding added, I grab a bag of it and cut it open
using a knife. Before adding water, the pellet bedding looks like small hard pellets.
I add 1-2 gallons of water to the bag and let it sit for about ten minutes.

While waiting for the bedding to absorb the water, I snapped a quick shot of the
indoor with the beautiful afternoon light streaming in.

Ten minutes later, the bedding has expanded a lot, and soaked up all the water!

I dump the bedding out and spread it around, along with the old bedding that
I had swept out of the way. I also scrub and refill her water buckets, and
put hay into her stall. Her dinner gets dumped into her bucket and soaked.

Next, it's time to bring the beast in!

Mom, I'm not a beast...I'm a pretty pony!

happy pony stuffing her face, and a clean stall...for now ;)


  1. Those dapples are freaking gorgeous in that last photo!

  2. I love doing all my own chores too, I keep my guy at my parents place. Then you know it's done right, every time!

  3. Blogger ate my comment. Sorry if this posts twice lol

    I really enjoyed having my horse on self care for all the same reasons you outlined. But when the barn started getting really weird and started changing things it became a very uncomfortable place to hang out so we finally had to move her to a full care facility. I still feel weird about not checking on her every day but I really think these guys care, and that really helps.

    I am curious about why you water the pellets in the bag rather than maybe using a watering can after you spread them? They sure make a lovely looking bed!

  4. Hi Story, thanks for the comment/question. I agree, some boarding barns care for their horses as if they're personal horses, not boarders. I'm sure my current barn would do just fine, but luckily it has a laid-back atmosphere and I really like getting lost in the familiar chores. It's my time away from stress (both work and home related).

    As for the pellets, I have watered them in a stall also if I have a hose with a twisty nozzle on the end of it, but sometimes it's easier to just dump a bucket of water in there and walk away and let it do its thing :) The plastic bag makes the pellets soak up the water quickly since they're submersed in it while in the bag.

  5. My horse is fed and turned out as part of board, and I'm glad that the barn feeds him so I don't have to be as stressed about making it out at the right times.

    I do clean my stall on my own though, and I love it! I have a specific way of doing it too. And I scrub out his buckets and all that as well. It always makes me feel good to take care of my own horse like that.

  6. I do a kind of hybrid board, also, in that the BM feeds in the AM and turns out for me. This is great for days where I have trainings at work, or for the weekends when I really don't want to get out of bed at 6:00 to go feed the horse ;)

  7. I took care of my horses by myself for 10 years, everyday twice a day and I LOVED it! However, now that I am in college and have 2 jobs, its REALLY hard to get out there once a day even. But, I am not a fan of boarding, I really would rather take care of my horse myself. For example, he went without water for two days and I wasn't there to notice...
    Also, I LOVE pellets too! Except I dump them out then spray them with a hose :)

  8. I love taking care of the beasts!
    Terry at Moondance

  9. Will she be turned out with other horses eventually, or will she always have her own paddock? I'm just wondering how she does with other horses.

  10. Hi Jae, I'd like for her to go into a group turnout. It might bring her attitude down another notch or two. That being said, I am very nervous that she'd get injured or injure another horse while in group turnout, so I haven't decided if I'll actually have her do it or not. I also don't want her to get attached to a horse to the point where she throws a big fit if I try to take her away from her friend. My old horse got like this when he was turned out with mares and it was so annoying. He was quite violent about insisting that he stay in his paddock and it took the fun right out of riding for me.

  11. I wouldn't LET anyone else take care of my horse after the shit I've seen. Good for you :) Love the indoor at this place.

  12. Well she looks amazing so you obv do a great job. I think there are definite pro's to being able to do your own cleaning/feeding, etc. We dont have options of 'rough board' around me, but being the closet farm is 35 min away, I dont think I could swing it. You have a nice set up. That indoor is sick!! :)

  13. I boarded at a self care barn for two years...this past March I moved to a full care facility. It is nice to be able to go away without worrying about feeding but I really really miss the chores. Yesterday I cleaned out the 100 gallon water trough just for fun!

    I enjoy mucking, feeding, mending hot wire, etc...!! You're right, it takes you to another place away from the stresses of home and work.

    Next week I'm moving him 30 minutes closer and it's more of a hybrid situation so I'm excited!


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