You see, I treat every day as though it might be the last time I see him for a while. It's not weird, and no, I don't have a fear of dying. What I mean is that I never save stuff 'til the next day. Speedy G gets "the works" every time I go to the barn. I don't bathe him every day, and he doesn't get ridden every day, but he gets everything else every day.
We start with a full physical check-up: any cuts or scrapes? Any filling? What do his eyes look like? Clear, goopy, dirty? I run my hand along his spine checking for any tenderness followed by a quick belly rub. When everything checks out systems normal, we move on to step two.
Once the halter is on, we either turn right for turn out, or left for tacking up, although he always tries to turn right. In the warmer months he gets a bath if he's worked up a sweat, or even if he's just dirty. Step three involves a light to heavy grooming which, of course, depends on the day. The rest of my routine includes cleaning his stall, which our caretaker does, but I always remove anything new. Speedy G also gets lunch and fresh water. He has an automatic waterer, but he likes a trough as well. Depending on the season, his fly mask gets a check and he may get fly spray along with a few squirts of Scarlet Oil to deal with any developing bed sores. The final task of the day involves double checking the gate latch and chain. A quick, see ya!, and my barn routine is complete.
Since we're leaving for more than two weeks, my barn chores have taken on extra meaning and have required some extra tasks. For instance, last weekend my husband helped me bed Speedy G's stall down with 8 bags of pine pellets. We've been lucky so far this summer that it has been unseasonably cool with some rain. Our ground gets VERY hard in the summer which causes bedsores at Speedy's hocks, fetlocks, and hip bones. After last summer's two week vacation, I came home to see some sores that caused my brow to furrow. To the rest of the world, they were only minor. But to me, they were huge and offensive and screamed, NOBODY LOVES THIS HORSE. Hence the extra deep bedding.
I've also reworked my emergency contact list for our caretaker's wife. I keep it up-to-date at all times, but I wanted her to have a fresh copy. With that, I've created a sheet to attach to my stall indicating who will be doing which chores while I am away. If I am not careful, everyone might choose the feed treats option and not the turn out option to which I'd return to find an obese pony who hasn't moved in two weeks!
Today and tomorrow's tasks include a final cleaning of my tack room with feed, and other necessary supplies moved to the forefront. Taz's mom has generously offered to be Speedy's mom while I am away. It's a very long story, and one I won't be telling, but she has proven herself to be a friend of the highest caliber, especially when it comes to making the hardest horse decision of all. And she was forced to make it with one of my horses ... not something most friends would do. So I trust her completely to care for Speedy as though he were one of her own.