Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm Gettin' The Fever...

No, not Spring Fever, Horse Fever.  All over the blogosphere, my equiblogger buddies are talking of their wonderful spring rides and here I am, still horseless.

But that's okay, because there's still horsey things I can do in preparation for the horses' homecoming in a few weeks.

First order of business, get the horn bags in order.  When facing a big task, like cleaning tack, I always start with the smallest task so that I can feel some form of accomplishment.

Everytime I go out, I have all of this with me.  I could pack a whole lot more, but these are the essentials.

  • Water

  • Duct tape

  • First aid kit

  • Gloves

  • Toilet paper

  • Baling twine

  • Snack

  • Gum

  • Camera (not pictured, well, because I'm using it for the photo)

  • My mom carries a hoofpick as well, but I always ride with my Gerber tool on my belt, so I don't feel like I need the hoofpick.  The few times I've needed it, the Gerber has worked well enough, plus I've got cutting edges (in addition to my folding knife in my pocket), screw drivers, etc.  You can pretty much fix anything with a Gerber or Leatherman tool.
You'll notice there's no cell phone or GPS.  Cell phones don't work, neither do radios where we ride.  We just have to trust our horses know the way home.  All of this stuff gets transferred to my fanny pack when I'm riding bareback.

Once the actual cleaning started, we started with cleaning halters.  They were gross.  I mean, scrubbed in multiple tubs of Borax and water gross.  We rinsed until the water came clean, without suds, and hung them to dry.

Yes, there are nine halters for four horses.  Estes is the only one with just one halter; guess I'll just have to order her a spare.

Then, deep breath, on to the leather cleaning.  I love the smell of cleaning leather, but panic when faced with something like this...

I know it all went together once.  Heck, I'm the one who tore it apart, but I'm always afraid that I won't be able to put the stupid thing back together.  It never fails, I always get something on backward.  This was actually the second bridle I cleaned.  The first one, I managed to put the headstall on backward, so Estee's ear piece was actually behind her ear.  For this one,I got smart and held it up before tightening the ties.

While I was fighting with the bridles, Mom was busy working on Washoe's saddle.

I had to head back down the hill before I could get to Estes' saddle, but I did manage to get her breast collar done, as well as her bridle and my daughter's bridle.  The saddle will have to be my project next time.

How 'bout you?  What do you absolutely have to have with you when you hit the trail?

Don't forget to join us on Wednesday for this week's Ride of the Week.


Rachel said...

Tack cleaning scares me! I am terrified that I will never figure out how to put something back together.

But it's really cool to see before and after pictures when they're all cleaned and pretty!

Camera... that's the one thing I can't leave home without. I've got something better than a GPS - a husband who knows the woods like nobody's business and would come after me if I wasn't home by dinner :)

Linda said...

Cool. We do a community saddle cleaning day for fun in January.

In my saddle bag I have a knife, gun, keys to the car and trailer, phone, camera, trail map, water--I used to carry wire cutters because I was always riding through old pasture areas, but now only if I go out on unknown trails. We don't ride out far enough to take a first aid kit--but if it was a long ride I would.

GunDiva said...

You know, despite being the GunDiva, I don't actually carry when I'm on horseback. I've not trained Estes to shoot from her and feel it would be a liability. However, a small .22 would probably be good to keep in my bag in case - God Forbid - something ever happens and I have to put her down. It's an ugly thought, but I'd rather put her down humanely if I had to than have her suffer.

For people who are not gun people and still want some protection from the wild critters, an airhorn is a good "weapon" of choice. Just have to desensitize the horse to it; they're loud and obnoxious and not noises that are typically heard in the wild, so the critters will turn tail and humans should be able to hear it for a long way off.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Good question. The first thing that came to my mind was that I have my driver's license and health insurance id card on me. (Don't have my confidence up yet as I'm a newbie trail rider.) I'll be doing a lot more trail riding this summer and I plan to take a scarf, a rain slicker or poncho, a knife, camera, hoof pick, sunscreen, snack, and water. Toilet paper and duct tape are a great idea! Thanks. That makes me realize something tough... I received a page-a-day calendar at a white elephant gift exchange called "365 Uses for Duct Tape". Amazing how many uses there are for duct tape, but it is probably a really poor substitute for toilet paper.

GunDiva said...

I didn't mention a rain slicker, because it's always tied to the back of my saddle.

Toilet paper is the key to tips when you're a wrangler. The female guests don't like to go outside anyway, but the thought of drip-drying doesn't quite cut it. Trust me, toilet paper is your friend.

Duct tape - can fix anything with it and baling twine. Can't remember how much tack I've fixed with those two things.