During the government shut down of 2013, my barn was shut down because we are run through a government service. This meant that no lessons were running and I couldn't get paid. Since I am technically considered a boarder and a leaser, I was still allowed on the property. The first few days, all I did was ride and leave. Then I was asked to ride a couple of the school horses that I hadn't ridden in a while, including one of my first long-time favorites, Bertha. So from then on, I was riding three to five horses a day. I hadn't done that in a while, so it was a blast, but I was certainly out of shape. Then I noticed the managers slowly starting to back out of their duties, and the horses they were supposed to be riding. Along with a fewof my friends, I slowly started to take over as barn manager. I ran the turnout schedule, got feed ready, dropped hay, did all the snacks, mucked stalls, lunged horses, and anything in between. I was specifically proud of myself wh en I made a record for turnout one of the days. I managed to get nearly every single horse in the barn out for at least an hour, and we have around 60 horses. I was driving our version of a golf cart around all day long, dropping hay off in our farther away turnout paddocks, bringing feed down and up and walking horses up and down from turnout all day long. We had five turnout rings going at once, and every horse got to play with their best friends and enjoy the sunshine the world had to offer. Every morning when the managers would come in to go into their offices, they would be very surprised that I was already there and horses were already fed and in turnout. And by the time it came for dinner to go out and the barn closer would how up, they had almost nothing to do. This whole experience was a huge amount of fun, but an amazing amount of stress, but most of all it taught me a lot. It taught me that I could handle running my own barn, and that made me really happy because that is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, and I know I know for a fact that I can do it.
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