Monday, July 26, 2010

More Lessons From A Horse

Part 2

Although the worst of the heat seems to have broken, I slept late this morning. I'd opened the bedroom windows last night and it just felt too good to get up.  Missed an opportunity to work the Boys while it was cool, but they are so out of shape it doesn't matter much at this point. If I get inspired, I might ride./lunge after dusk.

Note about pictures. I had to do a total system restore on the computer, so I'm not too sure about how the picture software I have installed will work, but I'll try tomorrow.

I did some yard work today. I mowed the lawn, weed whacked and mowed some more. I also started sorting and cleaning the horse blankets and sheets in the barn. I am being ruthless about throwing out several that really need a lot of repair.  Since I have replacements in decent shape there's just no reason to try to save the old ones. I washed two so far and have a number more to go. But I don't want to do too many in a row as I have well water and a septic system I don't want to overload. Two at time will do.

Then I did go for my swim, so I've exercised beyond the chores which leads to some of my insights today.So more lessons from the horse:

The work is never really done. Clean a stall, let your horse in and it's not clean for long. Mow the grass and it grows back the next well. Clean the water trough and you'll be doing it soon another day.  Sure, some "jobs" get done and tend to stay done for a while--like fixing a door or mending the fence--but when horses are around, it's bound to need doing again sooner or later.

There's never really "only one way" to do it. When I was thinking about teaching flying changes the other night, it struck me that each horse I've taught so far responded to a different technique. Now that I'm faced with teaching Tucker, I have a good number of strategies to use.  So far, I've had minimal luck--although we did run into some soundness issues that impacted an cut short the last effort.  But somewhere in that collection of methods--or perhaps somewhere else--is at least one method that will help him understand what he needs to do.  The same applies to most tasks we undertake.  Keep the blinders on you'll never know whether a side path might have even a better solution.

Make do.  My goodness, how many uses are there for baling twine anyhow? Or, for that matter, baling wire?  Someone once said a can of WD40 and duct tape are all you ever need.  I'm not sure about the WD40, but duct tape surely does live up to its reputation.  And double end snaps seem to be another marvelous invention. When something need to be fixed, the horse barn just seems to have something useful in it.

You'll always find it cheaper somewhere else.  Buy something for your horse and sure enough, you'll see it on sale someplace else a week later.  You could spend your life shopping for bargains, of course.  I spend hours researching the Internet for the best deals, but in the end, I've learned that if I really need it, I might as well just buy it and forget about it.  I still do have to laugh though about a popular fingernail treatment that was on the amarket for a while.  A small, one ounce bottle was about $10 in a "human" store.  The same product in the large economy horse size hoof dressing bottle was selling for around $7.  It was made by the same company and was exactly the same stuff.  Which leads to:

Read the label. Go to the pharmacy to buy a headache remedy and you'll find out that the store brand has exactly the same ingredients as the name brand for about half the price. The same is often true of horse supplements, feeds, and grooming products. Just because it has a fancy label doesn't mean it's really better.

Enough for now.  Any ideas from you?


  1. Great posts. I agree that horses made me a better shopper. I have a good sense of finances. Simply because they cost a fortune.

    For teh supplement I will hunt the best brand/price. I have found a brand that is almost half the price that a very famous one. I do not understands why electrolytes ... salts, should cost an arm and a leg!!!

    But some products cost, so if it is REALLY cheaper, you have to wonder where they go their source!

  2. I'm very much enjoying these lessons you are posting! The one in part one with the teenagers made me laugh. So very true...

    I have to say though, the stuff I bought for Jack a few weeks ago, I looked on the same site just this week and it all went up in price. I think that's the first time that has ever happened though!

    Something I have personally learned though is, sometimes you don't have to go for the most expensive, but for certain equine items, you're going to end up wasting more money trying to buy the cheapest thing! And that's never been more true than with anything made of leather, LOL!

  3. Good stuff, as always! By the way, are you still interested in doing a guest post on riding a spooking horse? No obligation, of course.

  4. Hi Kate. Yes, I will do the post, but I keep getting sidetracked. Let me work on it this week.

  5. Horsey chores are unavoidable, there really is always something to do!

    I do try to shop around and buy in bulk, but won't skimp on good ingredients for feed. I don't buy a lot of 'stuff' these days because I don't need it and can do without the extra expenditure. Financially, horses are like setting money on fire but I can't think of too many more fulfilling pastimes!

  6. i agree on all of that.

    but jean, what's this award suddenly appeared on your home page? congratulations!

  7. I agree there's always more than one way to teach a horse something. I've also become a bargain shopper since I've been involved with horses. I remember the hoof/fingernail treatment too, if I recall there was also a shampoo line of some sort.

    We had a guy delivering the water cooler bottle one day and he couldn't believe there was duct tape wrapped around a horse's hoof. He said "I guess it really does fix anything". I love duct tape, baling twine and double snaps.

  8. This post just reminded me that my winter blankets are still in the basement waiting to be washed. There's always something to be done.

    I hoard baling twine like most people hoard money. Not that I could hoard money, the horses take it all! *L*