Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bad Self-Care Boarder

I need some advice.

I've always considered myself a responsible person, and I do my best to be a conscientious boarder. My horse lives at a private barn on 80 acres. All the horses are on 100% turnout with run-in shelter. I am the only boarder. How much trouble could I cause? Plenty, it seems.

This morning the barn owner called me at 7:30 to let me know that the horses were all in the top pasture, and she was very upset about it. She knew I'd been there because I'd replenished Halo's feed bin last night. And of course this morning the gate was wide open between the run-in for the lower pasture and the upper pasture. I am a natural suspect. There have been at least two or three extra times that I've done something wrong with a gate - usually because I've had to move some horses out of the barn area so I'd have somewhere to groom and work with Halo.

The funny thing is, this time it wasn't me. Last night as we were leaving, I told Casi to wait a minute - that I had to go back to make sure all the gates were latched. And I did, and they were. This morning....loose horses all together in the top pasture.

If I were the barn owner, I would be damn pissed too. There are very good reasons she doesn't want all the horses in together yet. There are three babies still unweaned, and her gelding (recent ex-stallion) is extremely protective of "his" mare and her baby. They are usually kept up top together, and don't go in with everyone else. So this morning, she found them all in together, and one of the other babies had an injury.

Obviously I need to do something to improve this situation. While last night wasn't my fault, plenty of times the mismanaged gates have been my fault. How hard is it to make sure all the horses are in the right places with latched gates before I leave? You wouldn't think it would be. Lately I've tried to minimize moving any of the horses, just to give me less chance to screw up. But I think I need another system.

Do I make a checklist and tape it to the dash of my car? Do I offer to pay the barn owner $5 every time a gate is closed or open that shouldn't be? These things shouldn't be hard to remember. And I would never intentionally put horses in the wrong place. My barn owner is a great person. The horses have a good life. She takes wonderful care of them and is generally just a smart, good person. Why do I keep making myself look like an idiot?

Even though last night wasn't my fault, I've still been walking around today feeling awful about it. Maybe because I am the perfect culprit for having left the gate open. If I were the barn owner, I would have placed the blame in exactly the same place. How did I become such a scattered person that I can't even latch and unlatch the right gates consistently? I could really use some advice about how to deal with this situation. It will be a while before I can leave, even if that turns out to be the best thing. As much as I like where my horse is boarded now, I would rather leave there than be the idiot who endangers the barn owner's horses by leaving the wrong gate open or closed.

Is full care a better option for me, even if it's tougher on my pocketbook? I would love to hear what advice anyone has for how to manage my own idiocy. Right now I feel so awful that I don't even want to go out there to see my horse for fear that I'll make another stupid mistake.


Leah Fry said...

Don't remember where I saw it, but put a different color something -- they used a hair scrunchie -- on the latch of each gate. If you use a gate that you need to come back to, put the scrunchie around your wrist. It will remind you to go back to the gate and replace the scrunchie to where it belongs. Hope this helps.

smottical said...

That's a really good idea! I'll have to run it by my barn owner. Thanks for the input!