Zoe's Story

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Horsework verses Housework - 10 tips for 2014

There is not enough time in the day to do everything we need to do.  The amount of time spent with the horses has indeed for some, surpassed the amount of time spent at work and sleep.  So, what has to give, to allow for a good amount of time say, 40 hours per week, to spend with the equines?  Well, there is cooking, but one can only get away with not cooking for so much time, then a certain disgruntled behaviour becomes apparent in the husband’s normally quite forgiving demeanour.  It is fair however to offer up a 50 percent increase in cooking time for a two person household (which is 50 percent of the standard 100 percent expected).  I also thought shopping can go, particularly the time saved from not shopping is significant as is the dollar amount. And of course, our farm location dictates no cell phone and internet, so there are two very easy time sinks - eliminated.  Reducing shopping, phone calls, internet and cooking significantly saves time, however, it is now apparent that something else has to be reduced; housework.  It actually is an easy choice; vacuuming the house every day, or spending that time with the horses. Hmmm, no brainer.

House work can easily be minimized if you support the following philosophies:

1. If you spend more time outside anyway, it only makes sense there should be less housework required.

2. If you don’t nag your husband to do any housecleaning, your husband should also not nag you to do so.

3. If you hang out with your friends outside, at the arena, at the clinic or out on the trail, the priority is to keep your trailer presentable and have a cooler full of snacks.

4. If you insist on a floor style in your house that camouflages the dirt.

5. If you come home from the arena after dark, you simply do not notice the dust.

6. Your windows are dirty because you need the birds to see the glass so they can avoid flying into it and the spider webs in the corners are left to catch the flies - a symbiotic relationship.

7. The cats/dogs will cover everything with hair again within in a few minutes if you clean the couch covers.

8. Having some germs around helps keep your immune system healthy.

9. If you reduce vacuum cleaning and drying clothes, you are conserving resources.

And finally, the # 10 philosophy of minimal housework is you are a superb time manager, and it is simply more important to have a fit and well groomed horse, clean tack, tidy barn, eat-off-the floor trailer, organized feed shed, than a clean house.

Horse cleaning is also more rewarding, not only is it very enjoyable to see your equines glisten in the sun, with “my little pony” style manes and tails;  several of my horses give me a back massage in return while I groom them.  The rewards of horse cleaning are obvious.  It is apparent that you follow the horsework over housework philosophy while out riding, or at a show because you hear people comment: wow, “look at your beautiful horse” or exclaim how fit and well trained your horse is.  In contrast, I have never ever heard this statement . . .   “look at that shiny clean floor, or your bathroom sink is, oh, so polished and germ free!”.

crazy cat photoEven cleaning horses hooves has its daily moments of pride because you have a sound horse as you ride out.  It takes only a few minutes to dig the dirt out of their hooves, yet how many folks have spent hours digging the dirt out of sinks, drains, door jambs, boot mats and window frames?  Have you ever had anyone, anyone at all, comment on the “dirt free” window frames in your house?  Now, show up with your horses' feet all polished at the Mane Event in Red Deer; and nearly every woman, child and man smiles when you walk your tidy steed with shiny feet down the aisle way towards their next performance.

My sheds are cleaner than my bathroom.  And frankly, that is just fine.  It makes more sense to hire a nice man and his bobcat to clean out the sheds. I wish he could do the same in the bathroom in the house, but the door is too narrow.  Once the muck is out, and composting, the horses happily munch on hay in their shed as the rain pounds down outside.  If the bathroom was cleaned more often, no one munches contentedly in the bathroom - so why overzealously clean this area?

In the end result, an exceptional time manager finds a way to keep their competition horses fit and trained, the equine equipment in superb order, the youngsters handled and doing their groundwork, the broodmares content, the whole herd healthy, the barn yard impeccably clean as well as making it appear that they also are well intentioned houseworkers as well.  This is possible with a few key points - never clean alone, always use a broom (it gets the big chunks) and encourage team work when doing housework.

Welcome to 2014; may we all spend more time with our horse work!

copyright  Windy Coulee Canadian Horses - Heidi Eijgel