Wednesday, August 27, 2014

31x31 Contest

So I guess I should let the cat out of the bag. I'll be 31 this coming Sept. 2nd. I know y'all were thinking I was a shade over 21....... reality is setting in for me too.

In previous posts I've alluded to the fact that, while I love my horses, I'm just not that great of a horsewoman. It's just one of those things that in my wise old age I should own up to.

To give the briefest of back stories- I grew up riding once a week at a great lesson barn. We showed up, tacked up, rode in a group of 10, untacked, and went home. I participated in a couple of summer camps of which my primary memory is cleaning a massive amount of tack. But had a helluva fun time doing it! No wonder I still love cleaning tack to this day!

I stopped riding in high school, rode intermediately in college, and once a week during my two years in Arizona. When I moved back to Indianapolis I bought Luke but as we were at a show barn there wasn't much in the way of hands on learning. My time as an adult rider has been spent with the best of intentions but not much time in the way of coaching myself or finding others to coach me through the basics that I missed as a junior.

I'm challenging myself over this next lifeyear to complete 31 "new to me" horsemanship tasks and blog about them. This is where I need YOUR help to create my list!

So on to the contest! I need a list of 31 basic horsemanship tasks! Nothing is too simple or silly! To give a few examples....I don't know how to polo wrap. I've never cleaned a stall. And no- I'm not kidding.

Once I have my 31 suggestions I will pile everyone's name into a virtual hat and the winner will receive an Ariat team polo from me! Your name will be entered per suggestion so fire away! We all know the power of the blogosphere so feel free to share- I clearly need all the help I can get! 

The photo below shows the end result of my fab teacher, Matilda, showing me how to bandage. Submit your suggestions and you'll be treated to 31 more photos of me being delighted! Contest ends on my big day (9.2.14)!


  1. Good looking bandages (that was going to be my first suggestion:). Can you hook up/back a trailer? Taken a rectal horse temp? Done a hoof wrap? Cleaned water tank/automatic waterers? Ok, ok, I will stop, you've opened pandora's box of random horse chores in my brain:) Have you ever cut twine (on a hay bale) with....twine? Yes, it can be done:)

    1. No to all!!! And thanks for your wrapping compliment! I'll need to give it another few goes to feel completely comfortable!

  2. Sheath cleaning and/or girly parts de-waxing. You are so welcome. :)

  3. Definitely learn to clean a stall, braid a mane, braid a tail (things I haven't learned lol), body clipping, do an A show groom on a horse? What about taking horses pulse? IM shot? What things that I don't know could I make you learn and then teach me?? Ground Driving? lol

    1. Haha- love the ground driving idea- I have a feeling Ellie might be a little confused! Love the A show groom idea too!

  4. Lunge/long lining, poultice, name 20 parts of horse anatomy, set up grain for everyone in the barn, scribe for a dressage show (possibly not possible if you have no dressage shows nearby.... but they usually beg for scribes!), volunteer as a "jump judge" for a XC event (again, depending on if there are any in your area).

    1. Oh- I have a ton of event friends- they can probably point me in the right direction for jump judging! Grain for everyone is a great idea!

  5. Learn how to drive a goose neck trailer (my favorite skill I have recently)
    Clean a mares teats/lady parts
    Learn how to braid (mane and tail)
    Body clip
    Learn how to pull a shoe (great skill to posses and have basic shoeing tools on hand
    Learn how to give IM or IV shots
    Study signs of choke/colic/ other common distress and how to treat
    Learn shipping and standing bandage styles
    Learn how to bandage below ankle and above knee for injuries - ask me about how I learned that gem!
    Teach Ellie to ground tie? Can be useful (no huey doesn't do this :/)

    1. Great ideas! Body clipping comes up regularly on these lists and could be a great moola saver. How many mango bay belts can i get with those savings- a ton!!!

  6. Palpating the major soft tissue structures in the leg. Helps you have a baseline for how things feel normally so you can easily recognize when and where something is different.

  7. Pull a sprung shoe, use hoof testers, take a horse's pulse & know what normal resting pulse rate is, sweat wraps ... yeah, definitely learn to polo wrap!

  8. Hmm.... Hear are a few from me:
    1) Poultice boot
    2) Capillary refill check
    3) Check vitals (temp, respitatory, pulse)

    I just took a first shows right?!
    Don't feel too bad about not knowing how to muck a stall! When I started working at the dressage stable I had to watch youtube videos about this because I had no idea, my horses were always on pasture!

  9. Hmm, this is a cool one! I wonder how many of your things I know [or don't know!] how to do!

  10. Pull a mane, tow a trailer, take a temperature, build a jump course, do quarter marks, hang a figure eight bridle, pony a horse...

    1. I'm not even sure what "pony a horse" means- going on the list for sure!

  11. How fun! Okay a few ideas:

    -how to do a diaper wrap/abcess wrap on a hoof
    -how to pull a mane
    -know the identifiers of the body condition scoring
    -what type of food your horse gets and why?
    -know the basics of how to locate the lameness (front/back, left/right)
    -set up a hunter/jumper course

    You may know all of these, or none! I thought they'd be fun to revisit or learn! :)

    1. I know a few of those in theory but probably need a practicality exam!

  12. The ex-barn manager in me is probably showing, but here's the ones I came up with off the top of my head. Everyone should know:

    how to muck stalls - including banking and the pros/cons to each kind of bedding material
    how to poultice
    how to sweat a leg
    how to body clip
    how to show groom - this includes mane pulling, clipping lower legs/ears/proper bridlepath, banging a tail (when appropriate), etc
    how to twitch - when to do it and the different methods
    how to clean sheath/teats
    how to do IM/IV injections
    how to take vitals and know what's normal
    how to be able to name/find all the tendons, ligaments, bones in the lower leg
    how to pack/wrap feet
    how to braid a mane, even if just basic button braids
    the basics of saddle fitting
    how to correctly fit a bridle/bit, including flash noseband, figure 8 noseband and drop noseband
    how to bandage and wrap - standing wraps, polos, saratogas + porters. This includes velcro, safety pin and tape closures.
    the basics of nutrition, including weighing feed and determining appropriate amount of hay
    how to administer bute, banamine, and ace - including proper dosages and circumstances under which to give it
    how to make up a proper first aid kit
    how to blanket - at what temperatures and which weight of blanket
    how to walk lines accurately to determine striding
    how to set basic gymnastic distances for trot poles, bounce, one stride, two stride
    the basics of course design for both hunters and jumpers (types of jumps, color, fill, groundlines or lack there-of, what makes a good course, etc)
    how to pull a loose/twisted shoe
    how to properly cool out a heat stressed horse
    read the entire rule book for your discipline (even if it's just a skim)
    how to hook up/drive/back-up a trailer - bumper pull and gooseneck
    basic wound care
    how to de-worm - when and with what

    1. I think you just made my list! Great ideas!

    2. I'd also add proper "first response" to emergency situations like colic or founder. It's important to know what to do while you're waiting for the vet!

      When I was a camp counselor I always did three things: I'd completely disassemble a bridle and have them put it back together correctly, I'd give them a stack of horse parts written on paper and they'd have to put them on the right place on the horse, and I'd quiz the more advanced kids about bits and what they're intended for. So like a twisted wire vs a pelham vs an elevator etc etc.

  13. Some of these may have already been suggested. Great idea!!

    - Standing wraps
    - Sweat wrap
    - Take your horse's vital signs (I learned this oh so recently)
    - Body clip
    - Pull mane

  14. Have you ever braided mane & tail?

    Also, we have the same birthday 1 year apart.

    1. I have not and that is a must do for sure! Happy early Birthday to you!

  15. Here's a few!
    Sheath cleaning
    Taking temperature
    Taking pulse
    cleaning helmet liner
    cleaning gloves
    rasp a hoof
    stretch your horses' legs and back

    Happy pre birthday!

    1. Stretching is always a plus! Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  16. Take a TPR - and know your horse's averages/normals by taking them daily over a two week period. Temperature, pulse, respiration! I have Connor's written down in a binder in the barn in case I'm not there and the vet needs them.

    Are you still in the Indy area? That's where I am!

    1. Great one! Good info to have on hand! No longer in the Indy area- out in CA- but miss that part of the country!

  17. I really want to learn how to rasp a hoof. Learning how to set jumps has been super helpful as well.

  18. Here are a few of my favorites from when I was a kid:
    - paint/repair jumps
    - tie a quick release knot
    - strip a stall
    - clean a water trough
    - take apart and clean a bridle (and then put it back together!)
    - being able to tell whether or not you are on the correct diagonal without looking
    - polish your boots to where you can see your reflection in the leather

    1. Quick release knot is a great suggestion! I know how but need some extra practice for sure!