When I first arrived at the Pennsylvania Riding Academy, the day when everything became second nature could not come soon enough. It was incredibly overwhelming at first, but now sitting at the three month mark, I feel like I know what I am doing about half the time 😉
Our day starts at 7:00 AM, when we feed grain and do the first turnout set. There are four turnout paddocks that 12 horses are rotated through every 3 hours. There are also two pastures that house horses overnight; they are brought in and two other horses are put out. Additionally, two other horses are brought in from the farthest back fields.
From here, we begin cleaning the barn. The barn manager and one of the hardest working people I have ever met, Nikki, and I alternate days doing water and cleaning stalls. Everyday we dump the water buckets in the stalls and refill them. While one of us does this, the other begins cleaning the 15 stall barn. When these tasks are completed, we sweep the barn, make the grain for the PM shift and refill the hay pallet in the back of the barn.
We typically finish the barn around 9 AM. On full riding days [Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday] we are also in charge of tacking and untacking horses for Paul and Andrea. I can now proudly say I can groom and tack up a horse in 10 or 15 minutes.
Tacking up a horse includes the typical curry combing, brushing and picking feet. There is also the unusual step of hair-spraying their mane; this helps their mane lay flat throughout the ride. [And makes them look and feel fabulous. Or so Kelso has told me.] Some horses get two polos while others get four, which depends on their level of work. Every bridle and saddle is cleaned at the end of the day, and each saddle pad and set of polos is washed after every use. We roll more polos than I care to count…
I ride four times a week around 11 AM, and am able to watch one set a day of either training horse rides or a lesson. The days can be long, but the weeks fly by. This is my first true exposure to a full-training dressage barn, and I often have to pinch myself to make sure I am actually living this dream and not just dreaming it.
Off to go live my dream and muck some stalls,
Erin and the WP
This week, we are going to take a break from trivia, so check back next week for the answer to last week’s question. Even better, check out the link below and like the page!
One of my oldest horse friends is participating in the Trainer Challenge of the Unwanted Horse for the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation. This challenge holds a huge space in my heart as it is what Kelso completed during his time at MHARF. It is an incredible organization that is helping to give homes to horses and other hooved creatures. I owe them the world for giving me Kelso.