One day, you will realize that you have become "that person". The one who officially lives the horse life. A good indication of this is when you spend more time at the farm than at home. Your car may begin to look like you are living in it because it is filled with all the stuff you have in there for the barn "just in case".
Becoming that person might sound scary. You might be thinking that you hope you never stoop to living at this level. Really though, it is more like a right of passage. You are so dedicated to your horse, barn, and riding that you think ahead so you will be ready for any situation. No matter how big or small! You are prepared and nothing is going to get in the way of your enjoying your barn time.
First off, you have to dress in layers, lots of them. Pile them on, and then pile on some more in your tack locker, trailer, and car, just in case. You never know when you might get freezing cold...or on the other hand, burning hot!
Even if you aren't necessarily hot, riding is a workout, and you should come ready to hydrate with a water bottle! It might not seem like such a big deal in the winter time, but in the summer, you will be glad you have that drink!
In the winter, a cup of coffee or hot chocolate will be a lifesaver. It warms your body when you drink it and keeps your hands warm as you hold it. Speaking of warm hands, that leads me to my next point.
Here's an extra tip, from the trainer's point of view... we love the students who come with coffee and hot chocolate in hand for a brisk evening lesson. So share the love, bring us one too.
You need all kinds of gloves. Tough work gloves for barn chores. Insulated gloves for winter riding, nice light grippy ones for summer. In fact, you actually need two of each kind of glove. This way, if it rains or snows and they get wet, your hands won't freeze.
Hand warmers are a nice treat at the farm in the winter. Stick them in your gloves, your boots, down your shirt, wherever. They really do work, as hard as it may be to believe.
You need extra socks in case your feet get wet. The slippery thin kind for under your tall boots, as well as nice thick warm ones for under your winter boots. I'd throw in a few other varieties of socks just so you will never have cold or wet feet
Not only do you need riding boots but also your tall muck boots for when the paddock is super squishy and your horse is laughing at your from the far end. You need the short muck boots if the grass is just a little wet. You need your tall riding boots or paddock boots for your lessons. If you show, you probably have a separate pair for that. You have to have a variety of boots to survive in a barn and on a farm.
Also, you probably want your comfy shoes to change into if you are hanging out after the ride, or just want to be more comfy or presentable when you stop at the grocery store on the way home. Sneakers, flip flops, to each their own.
Once you have been living the horse life long enough you probably won't need the shoes because you will be passed the point of caring what you look like after the barn and will proudly wear your boots or muckers into the grocery store or even out to dinner. We all like to think we will never get to this point, but it happens to the best of us. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
Obviously, when you are at the barn you are going to be taking selfies, videoing your jump courses, and burning up phone battery. Family, friends, and scores of social media followers are anxiously awaiting after barn posts.
You can't run the risk of not getting the perfect video or selfie to post. So you need to keep a phone charger at the barn, or two in case one stops working. #preventdeadphonebatteryemergencies
You should have multiple kinds. Baseball caps to cover helmet hair after a hard lesson and warm winter hats to survive dark winter nights at the barn. Make sure to keep extras in the car or your tack trunk for those days when you wear one home and don't wear it back.
You never know what kind of aches or pains you may feel after a long day at the barn. No stirrup lessons, feet that got stepped on, or sore backs from sitting trot... Trust me, you want to have your ibuprofen or pain pill of choice available just in case.
You probably owe the trainer for something or it might be time to pay board again. Not to mention, you know you and your barn friends always go out to dinner on Friday nights.
Each Person Has There Own Version of Essentials
As you become "that" person that's always at the barn living the horse life, you will learn the basic essentials quickly. You may even end up adding some of your own personal touches to the essentials list.
And The Most Important Thing Of All
Your horse would be quite angry with me if I did not put horse treats on the essentials list for a trip to the barn. They tell me they prefer the expensive gourmet variety from the tack shop, but if all else fails well settle for something less fancy. Carrots, apples, peppermints, and sugar cubes will do if you run out of money for the fancy ones.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Do you have what it takes to survive anything that could happen on your trip to the barn? From a wet feet emergency to a cold hand emergency to a helmet hair situation...Or the dreaded dead phone battery. After all, your social media followers will never forgive you if you don't post!
Thanks for reading! Happy horse life!