I am the mother of a three-year-old and a 7-month-old. Wow, babies and tots are so different. I didn’t realize this until I was the mother of both ages. Babies are almost easy by comparison! Currently, I’m trying to teach my three-year-old boy how to care for other people’s things. It actually really started when I drug down from the barn attic, toys from my childhood. They had survived years of my devoted care and play and years in a box in the barn and then…approximately one week in the hands of my boy. Horse boarder
Remind me that plastic becomes more brittle with age and that boys will be boys. But golly, I was sad when my Maple Town car flew off the counter from the delighted push from scrubby little hands and the wheels broke off. To have survived so long…
Anyways, this has prompted me to begin teaching my little boy the value of taking care of our toys, and all the items in the house, the tools in the garage. everything. In my mind I’m thinking, screaming actually, “We aren’t made of money! We can’t just go and replace everything that is broken! We have to take care of them so they last FOREVER!”
But you know? It’s a lesson that would do us all well. And it also flows right into owning horses and to the property where our horses are kept and managed.
Our boarding facility is definitely a work in progress. Our horse property in my mind is elegant and majestic, full of splendor and shining steel fences and green foliage and an indoor riding arena, and a fully restored barn. The golden glow in my mind fades as my eyes drop to reality and the gray, outcast day reveals the opposite.
In the years we have boarded a few horses, I’ve learned a few things and have a few thoughts from the perspective of the facility and landowner of a horse boarding operation.
Are you a horse boarder? Take these suggestions to heart.
NUMBER ONE: Treat EVERYTHING on the property, the ground itself, as if you own it. Think to yourself, “Would I do this if I had to clean up the mess?” If not, then don’t leave it for someone else to pick up or take care of.
NUMBER TWO: Don’t change, move, or do things without asking. That includes your own horses. Do you own your own horses? Of course! But you don’t own the property they are on. You wouldn’t go to someone’s house and then barge into all the closed doors without asking, would you? So before letting your horse into the neighboring pasture to your horse’s pen, ask before doing so. There may be specific reasons there aren’t horses in that pasture. Here are a few I can think of:
*They may be haying the grass when the time is right
*They may be saving the grass for their own horses
*They don’t want every patch of grass turned into mud.
*You don’t own the grass and aren’t paying for it
*They don’t want your horses standing next to the horses in the pens on the other side of the pasture kicking at each other.
Also, did you use the wheelbarrow? Put it back exactly where you found it. The same would go for any equipment or tools used. Before you change, move or do anything, ask first and then put it all back the way you found it.
NUMBER THREE: Keep any area used for training horses free of clutter, straw, hay, and manure. This would include the round pen, the barn aisle, the riding arena and any roadway. This just makes sense, right? If you leave a mess, the next person to use that area has to clean up the mess before they can begin working with their horse. Common courtesy is to not make a mess in the first place and to clean up the mess if you make it.
NUMBER FOUR: Don’t drive on the grass. Even if it is closer to your horse. If you do think it would be easier to work with your horse that way, ask before you drive anywhere but the designated driveways. Continually driving on grass, even on the corners as you drive around the big puddle in the roadway, kills off the grass and changes the landscape.
NUMBER FIVE: Pay on time. Most people boarding horses aren’t making a full-time living doing it. Their budgets are likely as tight as yours, so they rely on your payment to keep the ball rolling. Your horses are important to you, so make the payment for the care of your horses just as important.
For many people, confrontation is the last thing they want to spend their day doing. And the next to last thing people want to spend their day doing is cleaning up someone else’s mess. It is so hard to backtrack when you realize that the “ground rules” should have been laid out from the beginning with a horse boarder. But if you do your part and keep these helpful hints in mind, it will ease the tension in the lives of the people who are looking after your horse or allowing you to keep your horse on their property.
These attitudes shouldn’t just stay in the home with the three-year-old or solely at the horse barn. Carry them with you as you go to the gym, the park and the parking lot. Anywhere you go, look for ways to bless the people and the world around you.
Stop. Look around you. See what’s undone. And help out. Leave everything you touch in better condition than you left it.
Let your very presence say that you care. This world and all the people living in it will thank you.
Please leave me a comment below! What do you think? What did you learn? What do you do differently?
Did you get value from these ideas?
Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to continuing this journey together!
PS I would love to hear what your biggest aha and takeaway was, and what was most valuable to you. Please leave me your comment below.
Thank you in advance.
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