Preparing for the New Year needs to be fun for both us humans and our equine partners. I know we all feel like we have aged ten years in just one year but we can only believe that 2021 will get us back to normal.
Here are a few of the things that you can do to start the process of preparing for the New year.
Get Equine Insurance
Now, I know you are thinking this will cost a lot of money, but wait! Most mortality insurance covers unseen death, euthanasia, a stolen horse to name a few. Then, there is medical insurance and it can be pricey. The best insurance out there is with the supplement companies that will cover your horse for colic, as long as the horse is on their supplement. Two of these companies are Platinum Performance Equine and Smart Pak Equine. I have three of my horses on the first and they cover up to $7500 on colic issues.
Mark Your Calendar
Start scribbling on your new 2021 calendar and fill in all of those dates that you know things have to be done. Shots both spring and fall, routine vet visits including teeth floating, your favorite equines birthday, so you don’t forget that special vegetable salad he gets.
You can also enter the dates of any known shows, ADT, etc., that you are looking at going to.
Cook For Your Equine
I know that my horses like it when I make one of their favorite mashes or some homemade horse cookies! Here is a recipe for each of them:
2 quarts bran 3 quarts sweet feed
1 cup oats 4 carrots grated
1 apple grated 8 round peppermint candies chopped
Mix all ingredients, then add warm water enough to make it sloppy. Let stand for 15 minutes and serve warm.
15 cups sweet feed 4 – 12 ounce jars molasses
1 cup water 5 cups flour
Mix the first three ingredients, then mix in enough flour to hold together. Coat muffin tines with vegetable spray and spoon dough into cups and press down to compact it. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until dark brown. Let cool.
Giving back is a good way to help support many of the equine non-profits. My personal favorite is Morris Animal Foundation. Over the years, they have had research programs on all sorts of equine diseases and issues.
If your cleaning out your tack room and don’t know what to do with all that lightly used tack, donate it to one of the many local Equine Rescues. This will always make you feel better!
Take the time to get a professional picture of your horse. You know you have always wanted to do it, but most of the time we wait too long. So do it now, so you can remember your equine friend as they are now. A good way to do it is when you are at a show. Generally, the show photographer can be a good contact. You might even be able to arrange for it to be done at the showgrounds.
Nothing beats a great photo of your equine partner that you can reflect on!
Repairs and Maintenance
Now is a great time to get your harness out and do a thorough cleaning of all pieces. That means that you need to take it all apart, unbuckle all buckles, take all thirty or more pieces apart, and clean and oil them. If you don’t think you can remember what holes different pieces go into, then write it down on paper as you take the harness apart. Polish all the metal parts.
When you finish the harness, then move onto your vehicle. Be sure to first clean the whole vehicle with soap and water. Touch up the paint where needed. Tighten all nuts and bolts on both the carriage and the wheels. Wooden wheels are always shrinking, so the screws will loosen during this process. If your vehicle has brakes, then check them and replace the brake oil if it has been several years, if not top off the oil reservoir. If the spokes are loose in the wheels, then you will need a wheelwright.
Check out your horse trailer while you are at it and make sure you haven’t taken any items out to use at home and replace them. I know, I am guilty of this infraction!
You will also want to go through all of your outfits that you wear and decide if they are still what you want to show in? If not, think about hitting up the local women’s resale stores for new apparel. For those outfits that you will be re-wearing this year, make sure they are clean and in good repair. Don’t forget to spruce up on those pretty hats for dressage.
Especially this year, preparing for the New Year seems more like a chore than the fun that it has been in the past. We have all had to contend with almost everything horsey that has been canceled this year. There might still be some cancelations of events early in 2021.
I have to believe that all will get back to normal and that scheduling of shows, clinics, trail rides, and just fun events, will be there for us. I am looking forward to CDE’s (Combined Driving Events) coming back by mid-year in towns across the United States.
I know that my driving horse Sailor is wondering what’s going on? This year is the first year in thirty-five years that I have not had at least one of my horses to a driving show or a CDE.
I am just thinking positive when preparing for the New Year, that all will return to normal and we can all get back to doing what we love most, driving and showing our equine partners!