Working with horses is very different from working on my cars. I can leave a car in the garage for weeks with a trickle charger and go start it. You can't, I mean cannot leave a horse alone for very long. Horse people are horse people.
Winter loves horses. She says morning stall cleaning is her relaxation period. She listens to music or podcasts and zones out. I've watched her work and it seems true. But, Winter and her kids are going on vacation for a week. We were properly notified and told she had a person lined up and trained to do her chores.
Oops, comes time for Winter's vacation and her helper decides it's too hot to do the chores. Well, Beth and I need to learn so we jump in. We're full care boarding only two horses now so not such a problem we think.
First morning we meet Winter at 7:30 to start. This horse (A) doesn't like to be alone so if you take the other horse (B) out to the hot walker first, horse A will mess up her stall. So always take horse A to the walker first. Horse A will be ok on the walker for a few minutes.
Now put the halter on A and take her to the walker. Remember, avoid walking into a stall if the horse is lying down. They need some space to get up and you don't want to get trapped. And, don't have their nose out the door when you are putting the halter on. And, don't loop the lead rope around your hand, hold the lead rope like a ice cream cone so any misstep by the horse pulls the rope out of your hand, not your hand off your arm. Finally, lead the horse through the gates and don't get caught between the gate and the horse. Ok. Got it! We've now got the horse on the hot walker. Whew.
Stall cleaning. If a horse is messy, meaning poops and wets all over, then most of the stall bedding is a goner, just pile it into the poop wagon. If however the horse is neat then you can scoop the poop and only trash the wet bedding. I'm thinking, bedding isn't all that expensive and separating takes time. Why not just toss it all? Because 1) the bedding does cost something 2) the waste must be moved by wheel barrow outside to temporary storage and 3) the waste must be moved a second time to long term storage and composting prior to whatever happens next.
Back to stall cleaning, and the neat horse. First the good bedding is moved to one side. Then the poop and wet bedding is put in the wheel barrow. Then a little lime is sprinkled over the wet area. Now is a good time do other things while the lime soaks in, so we fill the hay net, that's the next paragraph. After the lime has done its time the new bedding is added and distributed around the stall. Not there Winter says. Don't put much bedding under the water bucket and don't put much bedding under the hay bag and don't put too much bedding where the grain bucket sits. She must love giving instructions! Smooth the rest out neatly, like the horse won't go back into the stall if the bed isn't perfectly smooth?
Since we are doing morning chores let's continue. The hay net. We use slow feed nets. I've learned that means the mesh is closer together than a fast feed net where the mesh has slightly larger openings. Take the hay net and wrap it over the hay net holding device. Our hay net holding device is a metal trash can. Put the hay net over the trash can but don't push it in. When you put the hay flakes into the net, they will push the net into the can and it is easier to fill the net. Then you can tie the top of the net, be sure to use the larger top of the net ropes. Then pull the net out of the trash can and lug it to the stall for hanging. We hang off an eye bolt with a carabiner. Best to grab the hay net around the middle then lift it up with one arm and hook the carabiner to the eye bolt. If you are Superman you can lift by the carabiner and hang it. I'm not Superman -anymore.
Grain and supplement is now prepared. Not much to it except knowing how much is given to each horse and how to give it to them. Horse A eats slowly from the grain bucket hung on the wall, no problem just fill it. But horse B eats fast from a grain bucket on the floor. So you can't put the grain bucket into the stall until the horse is back. We were taught to stir the supplement into the grain. The horse owner is a nice man. He came by early and didn't think we had remembered the supplement because he just puts it on top of the grain. Nope I said it's there we were taught to stir. Good job he says!
Aha you say, what about water? Horses can drink 15 gallons of water a day and a lot more when it is hot. Boy has it been hot this summer. Each stall has a water valve. You fill the water bucket with the stall cleaning and it is Ivy's chore to keep them filled. I like to say anyone of us that walks through the barn should be checking water and filling. However, remember when it is everyone's job it is no one's job. Just saying!
Really impressed. My kids started by grooming and ended with a trail ride