Guest post by Mary Lynne Carpenter of The Backyard Horse Blog.
As a backyard horse-owner, I am responsible for all my horse’s care and related upkeep.
After a long Mid-Western Winter, I look forward to participating in horse activities come Spring. It is up to me to make sure all my facilities, equipment and horses are up to the task.
The following is my typical Spring to-do list for around the farm. Use it as a guide to make your own preparations for Spring.
- Schedule annual horse vet visit– This is a no-brainer that is somehow easy to forget. We can get so enthusiastic about Spring plans that we leave out this important step.
You don’t want to leave your horses exposed to illness at an upcoming event because their vaccines aren’t up to date. Nor do you want to be turned away from an even because you can’t show proof of an updated Coggins test. Plan that vet visit today.
- Organize a day of barn repair/cleaning– At my place, a thick layer of dust has accumulated on everything by springtime. Sometimes things fall into disrepair over the winter too. A Spring cleaning day is a great time to take care of those issues.
Go through all your horse supplies and equipment to make sure everything is clean and in good repair. Make a pile of stuff that you no longer use. You can later donate it to a worthy cause. Put any horse blankets aside to take in for cleaning/repair.
- Take an hour to organize horse paperwork– Hopefully, this is something you keep up on all year round, but if not, now is a terrific time to do so.
Can you easily find your horse’s registration papers, last proof of vaccinations and your horse-club membership card? If not, now is the time to do a search and vow to keep all your horse paperwork in one spot.
- Schedule annual trailer maintenance and next truck oil change– If you have a truck and trailer, you want to make sure they are both ready to go in case of emergency as well as for that trail ride you’d like to attend.
- Schedule annual mower/tractor maintenance– The grass will be growing like wildfire in many parts of the country by now. Be prepared to maintain those grounds and pastures with working equipment.
- Fill your calendar with horse events– If you are like me, you spend Winter scouring horse-related media for announcements about upcoming clinics, trail rides, horse shows, and expos. Get out your calendar and write down the dates of your favorite events.
Even if you are not sure you can attend yet, it will prevent you from making a non-horse commitment for those same dates. You might not want to agree to pull a double shift at work the day before you leave for a three-day clinic, for example.
- Replace any needed supplies– Hopefully, your Spring barn cleaning will clue you into what items need to be placed on a shopping list.
Your day of Spring cleaning might have revealed that you are out of fly spray, most of your lead-rope snaps have broken and the poultice froze over the Winter into something you don’t recognize and can no longer use. Make up a shopping list and get those replacement items ordered now.
Spring can be one of the most exciting seasons for any horse person. Put some thought and effort into how you can best prepare yourself and your horse for the upcoming year.
I know all the scheduling and organizing can be time-consuming, but proper preparation now will contribute towards living your best horse-life this year.
Mary Lynne is a backyard horse-owner who lives in the Mid-West. She loves to ride and write. Her other essays have appeared in Equus Magazine, The Horse Magazine, Horse Network, The Plaid Horse Blog, Medium.com and Horse Nation. She invites you to follow her blog, The Backyard Horse Blog- Living the Dream and the Reality of Keeping Horses.