Like any business, the horse business has its busy times and its slow times. My slow times seem to be rather limited the last few years – January is usually pretty quiet, but by February the winter short-term training horses usually arrive, which means busy, but busy at home. In March and April our area usually has some pretty fun clinics, involving busy days, but again, mostly I get to sleep in my own bed. But then, in April show season picks up, and things roll along until the first weekend in November.
Which means right now I am enjoying the calm before the storm. But I’m not so sure Amy and Kelsey are…
Because when I have time, I think too much, and come up with lots of great ideas, which, of course, trickle down to Amy and Kelsey’s job lists. The big items in the last two weeks have been organizing, leveling stalls, and parasite management.
Working for a red-headed hyper type-A dressage geek means that down time usually means organize. I HATE looking for things, and with 22 horses, keeping things neat is a daily challenge. Hence whenever SFD has down-time, I pull out my p-touch label maker and go nuts. Everything needs a place, and if things return to their place, then the order in our tack room defies the disorder in my thoughts.
With the spring organizing comes the spring pitch-session. We did a respectable job getting things clean before the clinic, but now I’m taking it a step further. The back cubbies get sorted out and extra stuff stored up stairs, taken to Equine Exchange, or tossed. Systems for efficient storage need purchased and put into place. That squirt bottle that we don’t use because it sticks now lives in the garbage instead of on top of the water heater. Clutter goes away.
The stalls also get addressed this time of year. I don’t care for stall mats, which means we must routinely add screenings to keep stalls level. When we are in there, we also spray the walls down with dilute bleach to kill any ascarids that may be using a stall for breeding – which is part of our parasite program.
A big part of the worm program is the spring pasture cleaning. So far, we have cleaned 3 of our 10 smaller fields completely and are picking them weekly. On the 1st, I’ll rent a big trailer and everyone will pitch in to get the two huge pastures cleaned. I do this because worms can’t breed inside of the host, which means if we can eliminate Mr. Parasite from meeting Mrs. Parasite in our fields, then there are less expecting Mrs. Parasites to re-infest our fields, and then re-infest our horses.
I have been picking paddocks and pastures as long as SFD has been around, and it has paid off. This year we did fecal counts on all of the horses, and (yes, I am bragging here) any horse that has been in my care for more than a year was essentially clean. Which means we only need to worm these guys twice this year, and save the stress that worming products put on their systems and on the environment.
Then, on April 7, the show season begins. And Amy and Kelsey can get a break. I'm sure they are looking forward to it.