Taking care of horses is a combination of routine procedures and myriad important details. Routines are both good and they are bad. They help you work efficiently, but the familiarity makes the days all blend together and it is hard to remember whether you latched the door today or yesterday.
How many times have left the barn and then wondered, did I lock the tack room door? Or did I turn the water off? Dozens, if not hundreds of times over the past decade. Inevitably I go back to check. 99% of the time, the task was done correctly. But that 1% when it isn’t, can be a real problem.
I don’t know about your horses, but ours live for the day when the feed room door isn’t secured or you turn your back for a millisecond while the gate is unlatched. Making sure you
The older I get, the worse my memory becomes. There are several things that I rely on to keep me from forgetting something important.
Here are my tips:
- Tie everything possible to a secure surface — for example, we tie the clips we use to secure latches to the doors and tie the scissors to the back of the hay closet.
- Leave reminders — the “secure and clip door” label is on our feed/tack room door. We also leave reminders on the white board.
- Close everything properly every.single.time. I’ve come to realize that if I always do things “properly” I don’t have to try and remember whether I did them right the last time. It’s annoying to relatch the door every time, but less stressful than wondering if I did it right. Likewise, each time I feed, I make sure the tops are on the bins before I leave the tack room.
- Minimize the chance of human error. Installing an automatic door closer was a great idea. And this summer we’re going to put a timer on the pump switch as that’s something that occasionally gets left on.
- Make a mental check list. Every time I leave the barn, I run through the steps in my head. When someone not familiar with the process is helping out, I’ll leave a real list. I use a “to do” list on my iPhone and keep action items there that might be above and beyond the basics. Of course, then I need to remember to check it!
- Don’t be embarrassed to go back. Usually only you and your horse know that it took you three times before you were sure you did everything right and they’re not telling. Actually, they are hoping that you forgot that you already fed them.
What tips do you have for keeping yourself on track and all the details under control?