We're all familiar with the usual New Year's Resolutions: trim the waistline, act nicer to in-laws, procrastinate less, etc. But most equestrians have other priorities worry about: Will the farrier show up when he's supposed to? Did you remember to put on Cuddles' snow blanket? Is there enough hay to last until spring? But in the spirit of the season, here are a few suggested New Year's Resolutions for horse folk:
The barn will be cleaned before noon every day. I plan to resolve to do that – maybe even accomplish it.
I will clean my tack faithfully after every ride – even if it's just with the quickie leather cleaner. Okay, once a week – at least.
I will buy three Lotto tickets each week: One to pay for more horses; one to cover veterinary expenses; and one to cover farrier expenses.
I will make appointments for a haircut at least as often as my horse needs new shoes. In fact, that's a good way to remember.
In the coming year, I will check my clothes for hay before going out in public.
When I reach into my coat pocket for change, I will try not to pay with pieces of carrot or horse treats.
Horse clothing will not be cleaned in the family washing machine any more. At least, not while The Husband is home.
I will not soak bits in the kitchen sink. I will put them in the dishwasher instead.
I will remember to write social obligations on the calendar as religiously as I write clinic and competition dates. That way, maybe I can keep them. If they don't conflict, of course.
I will (occasionally) feed the family before the animals – at least on weekends.
I will endeavor not to scream, "NO!" every time a family member attempts to take a carrot from the 50-lb. bag earmarked for the horses.
I promise to stop critiquing every movie I see in which there are horses and the riding, grooming, or tack is incorrect.
I will stop saying "over" to my spouse when he's in my way in the kitchen and "whoa" to my children.
On the first rainy or snowy day of the New Year, I will muck out the house.
In the future, the living room will not be decorated with bridles and bailing twine –I'll save that for the family room.
I will wash my truck as often as I wash the horses.
I will not use the exercise bike as a saddle rack.
When I uncover the exercise bike and find new homes for the blankets and saddles it is holding, I will ride it.
I resolve to completely ignore all of the above resolutions this year to take enough time to actually RIDE my horse and stop grousing about not doing it enough.
So there are some New Year's suggestions. You may choose those that are attainable or select those that are unattainable, but it will make you feel better by resolving to do them. I'll start by attempting to memorize "2002." I'll need to get that right on all those checks I'll be writing for the horses.