Routine Rules

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Routine is something I think all creatures, including human creatures really thrive on. Even if you subscribe to the free spirit kind of personality, undoubtedly routine still rules a large part of your life.

This is why I hate traveling. My sleeping, waking, exercise, eating, drinking, riding, and writing are all thrown out of whack. Travelling used to be a necessity in my life. To see new things, hear new sounds, experience different cultures, but mostly, just mixing it up.

Flying is no longer fun. Flying is painful. Flying is a chore. Flying SUCKS.

So needless to say I don’t travel much anymore. No longer to I seek the far corners of the earth for excitement or experience. For the thought of sitting in airports makes me want to vomit.

Frankie now lives in Florida with Lorie.

Florida is far from Colorado.

If I want to visit Frankie and Lorie. I gotta step foot in an airport.

Fuck.

I had a small window of free days available.

I took a red-eye out.

Fuck.

The payoff?

Priceless.

Frankie is such an awesome horse. He’s just THE BEST! I miss him dearly and it was so great to see him.

Of course it didn’t hurt to also be in the presence of palm trees.

He’s Mr. Personality.

It was amazing to see Frankie. And so good to see Lorie.

I am going to make the cross country trip every few months. As much as the traveling felt like getting beat up by a mob of angry kangaroos, it was totally worth it. Good company does that.

Unfortunately Alice didn’t much appreciate my traveling.

Three days off.

Three.

THREE!

After allowing her to blow off some steam, I took the fire breathing dragon for a walk.

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Her routine was demolished. It wasn’t just the riding either. It was the grooming, the walking, the whole package.

Poor Ice. That is officially her nickname. Ice.

Because it can’t be Ally. I’ve known far too many Ally’s. Far too many.

So it’s Ice.

But I digress…

After two days back, Ice was on track, happy, and so appreciative of her routine.

Which consists of:

Getting her out of her stall (before breakfast is served)
Picking out her feet
Putting on her boots
Pulling off her blankets
A quick brushing (body, mane and tail)
Saddle application
Girth tightening in sequence with apple feeding
Bridle placing
Go to ring (indoor the past 10 days)
Park Alice
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Set up poles (trot, canter, bounce, lines, I try to set up a new puzzle everyday)
Get on
Walk for five minutes on a loose rein
Trot and canter for 10-15 minutes on a loose rein
Get to work 15-30 minutes depending on the exercise
Walk for five minutes on a loose rein
Get off and let her scratch her face on my butt (both sides)
Loosen girth
Hand walk for five minutes while putting poles away
Go back to the barn
Remove bridle
Give a good curry of the face
Insert carrot into Alice’s mouth
Remove boots and girth
Remove saddle
Insert carrot into Alice’s mouth
Pick feet
Apply hoof oil
Spray down with coat conditioner
Curry whole horse despite tickle spots on the flanks
Put away tack
Sweep area
Hand walk in barn aisle for 15-20 minutes (outside if it’s warm and not icy)
Curry entire body and face minding ticklish spots
Insert carrot(s) into Alice’s mouth
Brush body and face
Replace blankets
Put her up and top off her awaiting breakfast with some extra treats

The above is OUR routine. The only thing that changes everyday is what we work on undersaddle. But other than that, I make her day as predictable as possible.

Why?

Because it makes her happy.

Because it makes her know what’s expected of her.

Because it makes me know what’s expected of me.

Some people argue that a horse will never be good at change, horse shows, traveling, and new things if they do the same thing everyday.

Well, that’s just not true.

While Alice needs some exposure to change in routine (more specifically riding with other horses and getting off the property). What I do with her every time makes her comfortable with change, new things, eventually traveling and horse shows too.

I think she’s coming along very well.

A jump session a few weeks ago:

A little romp in the snow as the sun rises (also a minute change in routine):

A jump session last weekend:

She’s a great worker and only wants to please. She’s become a bit on the lazy side, especially when bored. That’s why I try to set up pole exercises every day to keep things interesting for her.

With jumping her left turn is atrocious. We work on it on the flat and with poles, she’s getting better, but is more responsive to my leg, with respect to straightness when I’ve got her a little more packaged. I’m just not ready to package her going to jumps yet.

It’ll all come together.

Consistency and routine rule when working on equine job skillz.

My deer friend wishes everyone a happy/fun/prosperous/bombass/compassionate/sweet New Year!

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Tall Omaha’s Kindle edition is going on sale December 31st 2014 – January 4th 2015 for $0.99! Get it while it’s cheap!!

ABOUT AUTHOR

Equestrian author, rider, and horse advocate Kristine Oakhurst has performed every equestrian related job there is from being a groom, vet tech, stall cleaner, catch rider, barn manager, trainer, and even board member for a breed committee. Her first novel about a discarded ex-racehorse and homeless 16 year old girl has just been published. [Checkout Tall Omaha at Amazon]