Spring is in the air! Well, sort of, depending on where exactly you live. Here in Maryland, despite it being a little showery, it is finally beginning to show signs that spring is around the corner!
That being said, you'll hopefully get to spend some time at the barn with your horses and horse owning friends! Here is a list of some productive and fun things you could do at the barn this weekend.
1. Shedding Contest/Grooming Game
I know my lesson horses are shedding hairy monsters right now. The more you brush, the more hair comes off of them. Have a grooming contest with your friends. See who can get the biggest pile of shredded hair. Don't forget the old retired horses who don't get much attention. They need grooming too, and I bet those shaggy old things will shed like crazy.
2. Spring Tack Room/Tack Box Cleaning
If you have a tack locker at your barn, empty it out. Give it a good cleaning. Throw away anything that you don't need. Make a pile of dirty horse laundry take it home and wash it. Throw away anything that is broken and can't be fixed. Then once you have your space nice and clean. Reorganize all your stuff so you will know right where to find it!
If you have a large shared tack room instead of individual tack lockers, plan a spring cleaning party. Get everyone from the barn together to pitch in. Get the tack room sparkling clean and organized and then have a picnic.
3. Cleaning Brushes
It took me the longest time to realize that the reason my horses still looked dirty after grooming was that my brushes needed cleaning. On a warm and sunny day, you can wash all your brushes in soapy water and lay them out to dry in the sun. Then you can hose out the bucket or tote you keep your brushes in. That way, when the clean brushes are dried out, they can go into a clean storage container.
4. Cleaning Tack
If we didn't ride much over the winter, there is a good chance that your tack could use a good cleaning and oiling. So go for it! Be sure to take your bit off the bridle and give it a good cleaning, making sure there is nothing dried up or hardened on the bit that would make it uncomfortable in your horse's mouth.
5. Repairing and Painting Jumps
Springtime is a great time to get repairs done on your jumps. That way, as the riding weather improves your jumps will be ready to go to work again. Once you have fixed anything broken on them, have a jump painting party. You could even make it a contest – whosever jump turns out the best or most original wins a prize!
6. Plan a Mounted Easter Egg Hunt
We used to do these every year when I was a kid. Get plastic Easter eggs from the dollar store or craft store. Open them up and then put one end of a rubber band in them and then close them up again.
Use the rubber band that is out of the egg to hang them up. Hang them from fence posts, jumps, tree branches. Try to hide them at places that the riders can collect them from in the saddle.
7. Do a Jelly Bean Taste Test With Your Horse
I don't know about your horses, but my horses love Jelly Beans. Get some friends together and sort out the Jelly Beans by flavors. Then take a guess at which you think your horses will like best. Then go through the barn and do a Jelly Bean taste test with the horses. See how well you know your horse...can you predict which one he will like the best?
8. Barn Beautification
Help the barn owners and have some fun by sprucing up the barn. Get flower beds ready for planting. If you think the weather is going to stay warm enough, go ahead and plant some flowers. If the weather is questionable, go with pansies – they are hardy if it happens to drop down too cold one night.
So, there you have it. There is some fun stuff, along with some serious stuff! No matter what you chose, I'm sure you will have a great time and accomplish a lot at the barn this weekend.