For someone with a full time job, it is amazing how much time I spend at the barn. Really. I am there 15-20 hours a week (or at a clinic/working with a trainer, etc). Chores account for at least 5 of those hours and another 1 or 2 can be sucked up by conversation, but that is a solid 8-13 hours of working horses. It just isn't enough. Not when you have 4. Oh yes, if you read my post yesterday about Loving a horse, I didn't mention Santana because I don't own him, I am just training him. So add Santana to my 3 and it is just too much.
Take tonight for example. I got to the barn, cleaned stalls, brought in all 8 turn out horses (we take turns with turn in/out), fed all the horses (like to help Pam out once in a while), set up my hay for tomorrow, that took an hour.
I then clipped Santana's whiskers/ears, saddled, rode, shampooed his feet. I got out Tesoro, clipped his whiskers/ears, saddled, rode, shampooed his feet. Then I got out Zapa, clipped his whiskers and we worked on ears (progress not perfection), then shampooed his feet. I arrived at 6, I left at 10. Four hours, good work with all the horses and I didn't even touch Precious.
So, if you can't handle your horses all the time OR you have limited time and too many horses, here is my list of things to do each time you handle your horse.
1. Pick up all 4 feet.
2. Touch/pet her ears. If you can't touch, get close, back off when it is overwhelming (advance/retreat).
3. Move your horse forward, backward, right, left
4. Ask your horse to drop her head
5. Touch his/her belly
6. Touch his/her mouth (I love Ttouch mouth work, awesome for horses who don't like mouths touched).
If you can't do ANYTHING else, do these six things. It will take 10 minutes and over the course of the year make a huge difference in your horse.