As a general rule, I’ve never bothered with New Year’s resolutions.
It’s easy (at least for me) to fall off the fitness bandwagon, or to forget to not eat that second helping of pie, or even to resolve to get better at budgeting in the next year (I’m sorry, my horse doesn’t need four bridles?!).
This year, however, I’ve changed my tune a bit.
Moving to a farm has meant that I’ve had to set goals (and assess how realistic my champagne dreams are on a beer budget), and decide what I want to do in the next 12 months and how I want to go about it. Here’s some of my 2017 farm resolutions that I’m pretty sure a lot of equestrians—horses at home or not—can relate to.
Continue on the hot streak of never breaking a muck fork
I’m unbelievably proud of the fact that in well over 10 years of mucking stalls, I’ve never busted a manure fork. There’s been some close calls where a tine got caught in a small gap in a stall mat and my heart just about stopped, but so far so good. Who wants to replace their trusty fork, anyway?
Learn to back up a trailer without nearly suffering a heart attack
For many years, I’ve driven borrowed trucks and borrowed trailers. Now that I’ve (recently) acquired my own, the excuse of constantly trying to avoid backing up into tough or tight spots to save hurting someone else’s kit or my pride (that gas station is a perfect place to turn around, thankyouverymuch) is null and void. Practice makes perfect, and I’ve got a lot of work to do if I plan on attending any shows or clinics this season.
Win the lottery and build an indoor arena
Just kidding. The plan is to actually start putting money aside to build one down the road. If a multi-million dollar jackpot happens to help me achieve that, so be it.
Avoid turning my vehicles into barn 2.0 or a secondary living space
What equestrian isn’t notorious for basically living out of their car or truck, and constantly apologizing to non-horsey compatriots about “the horse smell” while tossing all the crap in their front seat into the back to make room for a passenger?
Repeat after me: I will clean my empty coffee cups out of my car on a regular basis. I will not transport hay inside a closed vehicle when my occasional passengers with hay fever are likely to ride inside it soon. I will endeavour to not turn my back seats into a mobile tack room or a second closet unless absolutely necessary.
I have a feeling I won’t be fulfilling this 100% any time soon…but I can at least attempt it, right?
Plan one project a season, and see them through from start to finish
A friend uses this model with fair success on her farm, and I’d love to employ it here. Figure out one “big” project a season and budget accordingly. For me, in 2017 it’s going to be re-surfacing my sand ring in the spring, fixing the running water to the barn in the summer, building another dry paddock for the fall, and trying not to freeze to death in the winter. All pretty achievable, I’d say!
Ride more, worry less
I ride a lot less now that my horses are at home, and I know that’s entirely preventable. Winter does tend to hinder riding in my part of the world when you don’t have an indoor arena, but a quick jaunt in the snow on Christmas Eve reminded me how even a 15-minute walk up the back forty is a really relaxing, enjoyable experience.
Riding doesn’t always have to be schooling for your next dressage test, drilling the grid work, or focusing on a particular training issue. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride—literally.
About the Author
Mallory Haigh is an under-30 adult amateur dressage rider living in the middle-of-nowhere Ontario, Canada on 50 acres with her two horses, a few boarders, chickens, dogs, and wildlife. Her hobbies include freelance writing about life on a small farm, web development, photography, and geekery.