If you are participating in my month long challenge, be sure to download the workbook I made. You can find the link in yesterday’s blog post. That way you have a tool to help you! I wanted to talk to you for a bit about tacking up faster, and more efficiently.
It might be just me, but sometimes it takes me awhile to get tacked up, and actually get into the saddle. But I have come up with a solution for that. Instead of getting my horse first, I have found it is better if I get everything I need first, and then my horse.
Get What You Need To Ride First
During the week, I don’t get to ride until after I get home from work. Thankfully right now, the days are still long. So I have plenty of time to come home from work, give my husband a hug and talk about our day for a bit, change out of my scrubs, and then get out to the barn before dinner.
And when the horses hear the gate open, they both amble over to me looking for a pat and a treat or two. So I use this time to gather them both, and put them back into their stalls, or clean their stalls first.
Then they both get put away while I gather my tack, and supplies for working with Frisby. On occasion I will leave Ethan out, but it is a lot more efficient to put him in his stall while I am riding and working with Frisby.
And since I spent some time cleaning the tack room, and getting everything back in it’s place, it’s easy to gather what I need to ride.
Grabbing The Tack
The first thing I do is grab my homemade portable saddle rack and hang it on my hitching post.
Then I uncover my saddle, grab my girth, bridle, ear bonnet, and saddle pad and take that out to the hitching post.
Next comes the boots, my grooming tote, fly spray and riding helmet.
And next I get my boots, Frisby’s boots, the riding crop, and a halter.
And after I have everything out that I will need to ride, then I get a pocket full of treats, grab the halter and go get Frisby back out of his pen.
Time wise, this takes me about 3 to 4 minutes. Not too bad for getting set up and prepared to ride.
The Tacking Up Process
The tacking up process goes pretty fast now that I have everything already gathered and ready to go. And I have been grooming Frisby daily for the last several weeks, so getting him brushed and clean actually goes quickly too.
I don’t spend a lot of time grooming before I tack him up, because I don’t need too. I pick out his hooves, run some oil into his mane and tail, and then brush him.
I start with a rice root brush. It’s a firm bristle brush that works to get the ground in dirt and dander out. Then I move onto a medium bristle brush along with a curry comb to knock out the dirt as I move from one side of Frisby, around his behind, to the other side.
And of course, I have to apply some fly spray to keep the pesky boogers away. The flies can be relentless during the summer. And while the fly spray isn’t fool proof, it does help to keep my horse more comfortable.
Then I brush through his mane and tail, clean his face, and nose. And rub a few drops of my homemade respiratory essential oil blend on his nostrils. It’s really dry and dusty right now and I find this helps to cut down on the coughs that sometimes happen.
Then I saddle Frisby, and put his boots on.
And before I put on his bridle, I put my boots and my helmet on and then Frisby gets his bonnet, and finally bridle. Depending on how frisky he is feeling (which isn’t very often) I might put on a standing martingale too. But for today, he is fine without it.
Tacking Up Faster
The entire tacking up process takes around 10 minutes. Well, to be precise, it took me 12 minutes and 38 seconds. Not very long right? From getting everything that I need ready, to getting Frisby, and having him dressed and ready to ride, is 10 minutes.
But the most important part of being able to get tacked up this quickly is to put everything away, where it belongs in anticipation of the next ride. This is the most important step to being able to be more efficient for next time. And sometimes this can be the hardest thing to do!
Planning Is The Key
And once I am done riding, Frisby gets a little deeper grooming and tucked away for the night. I then get the horses fed and while they are happily munching on their dinner, I put all of my stuff away.
While I am putting everything away, I clean my tack, and boots. The bit gets wiped down with a homemade bit wipe before it is hung up on its hanger. And my saddle gets the same treatment, a quick wipe down, or a little more thorough cleaning before it gets covered and set back on it’s rack.
And the girth gets cleaned too. And I never keep my girth laying across the top of my saddle. The girth gets sweaty, and the sweat and dirt can hurt my saddle. So I hang the girth on a dollar store hanger (this works GREAT for hanging girths!) and clean both sides of the girth.
Once all of my tack is put away, I reorganize the grooming tote, and put away all that’s left and then fill some hay nets for the next day, if they need to be filled and sweep the floor one last time.
Looking into the tack/feed barn one last time before I close up the little red barn, and seeing everything is put in it’s place .
The clean up after riding takes a little ore effort, and a little extra time. But tomorrow, it will be worth it when I can repeat the process again. And this is what helps me to be successful in riding, or working with Frisby in the evenings.
Getting Started Is The First Step
If you are going to go through this challenge for August, I highly encourage you to get your tack room organized as the first step. It will make the time you spend with your horse more rewarding, and fun! And we all want to enjoy the time we have with our horses, right?
And if you want to see what’s coming next in the challenge, be sure to subscribe to my email list! This way you will get an email every time I have a new blog post. I will be posting something new, every day in August. And the posts happen bright and early in the morning, so you can plan your day with your horse!