I emerged from my April of hell to have a lovely birthday weekend…and then run smack into a nasty virus that flattened me for most of a week. I still had to go to work, of course, because working for nonprofits is an exercise in human misery sometimes, but the barn was not happening.
Thankfully, I started feeling significantly better on Saturday and then the urge to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS kicked in. I had made a very, very tentative start on this before I got sick, but now I am in full blown spring cleaning mode.
So I made a list. Here’s a month long spring cleaning challenge for horse people.
Week 1: Tack Trunk
- Completely empty and scrub out your tack box. Throw out incidental pieces of trash that have collected in corners, wipe down every surface inside.
- Pair up all boots, roll up all polo wraps. Scrub out any that need it, inspect for loose stitches, set aside any that you don’t use regularly.
- Lay out and clean all grooming tools. Inspect for signs of wear, replace anything that needs it.
- Organize incidentals in tack trunk: pens, paper, fiddly things.
- Review your first aid kit and replace any and all necessary supplies. Check expiration dates on meds, check batteries in thermometers and flashlights.
- Lay out all your saddle pads. Clean them thoroughly, inspect for loose stitching, decide whether you really want/need all of them.
- Wild card! What else do you need to do? Fill it in here.
Week 2: Laundry
- Go over all your blankets, coolers, and sheets for loose stitches, missing pieces, unnoticed holes. Make arrangements to get them fixed, fix them yourself, or just make a note to keep an eye on them.
- Lay out all your gloves. All of them. Match them up. Clean them, repair them, or toss them.
- Try on your breeches. All of them. Sort them into keep & get rid of piles. Really focus on whether you wear them and love them, or they’re taking up space.
- Thoroughly clean and condition your saddle(s).
- Thoroughly clean and condition your bridle(s).
- Thoroughly clean and condition your other strap goods.
- Wild card! What else needs to be cleaned and gone through, for your horse or yourself?
Week 3: Paperwork
- Review your emergency contact information at the barn, for you and for your horse. Update as necessary.
- Update all your horse’s medical records. Take a new TPR baseline, write it down, and put it in a prominent place.
- Do you have any magazines or catalogs lying around and taking up space? Out they go.
- Organize all your show/registration/membership paperwork. Make sure you have some kind of good ID sheet in case of emergency or theft – take some photographs from all sorts of angles of your horse, put them together with a careful description.
- Make a list. Any list. show prep, future projects, goals, items to replace, future purchases – something. Organize your horse-related thoughts.
- Borrow a label-maker and go to town. Buy a new sharpie and go over your horse’s name on all relevant things. Make sure it’s clearly visible.
- Wild card! What else needs to be organized, paperwork-wise?
Week 4: The Great Beyond
- Write a nice note to someone who has helped you out recently – your trainer, the barn staff, a fellow boarder, your vet.
- Volunteer to do something around the barn that’s on the longterm to do list. Walk the fenceline, attack the cobwebs, scrub out the grain bins.
- Make plans to volunteer at a show or event.
- Find an equine-related charity and make a donation.
- Do you have a will specifying what will happen to your horse in the event of your untimely death? Do you have a few people who will explicitly be part of that planning and decision-making? Create that if you don’t. Update it if you do.
- Do one thing you’ve been putting off for a really long time. Whatever it is, just do it.
- Wild card! Anything else on your plate?
So, what’s on your list? Anything I forgot that you always do? Anything I added that you never thought to do?