Get Organized in 2011
The old year is gone and the new one is here! Have you been looking forward to 2011, a fresh start - a clean slate? If you're like me, I cannot wait to dig into getting this years planning started! This is the time when you bring out your new calendar, all neat and clean, just waiting to have a new agenda written on it!
Are there things that you wanted to accomplish last year with your horses that you didn't get done? If so, I would encourage you to take just a little bit of quality time to make a list of things that you would like to accomplish from last year as well as this year, too! As you make your list, sit it off to the side for a while and when you think of another "to do" items to add to your list, jot it down. Write down anything that you would like to do throughout the whole year. If you have appointments to check on in a given month, write that down too. It's proven that when you actually write your "to do's" down, you will accomplish more than what you would if you only thought about it.
Here's an example of what my list is beginning to look like:
Get jog cart from the old barn to the new one. Check all moving parts. Check for any repairs.
Clean harness, double check reigns for wear, oil leather parts. Clean tack.
Double check the water pump. Make sure insulation is in place -keep warm so no freezes occur.
Mini-Donkeys - trim appt. set up for Feb.
Set worming schedule on new calendar.
Teeth floating appt., vaccines, spring.
Spring trailer maintenance.
Evaluate the 2010 barn budget, apply 'Dave Ramsey' system for 2011.
Walk the fence line.
List any barn repairs.
Once you list your "to do's", mark your deadlines on your calendar. If you tell yourself that a deadline means just that, you will be pushing yourself to get things done rather than shoving things aside. You actually start to feel like you have weight lifted off your shoulders and don't have to try to think of how you will accomplish tasks when you get closer to your due date! Most of us that are involved with our horses have ongoing projects, upcoming shows, or equipment that needs to be purchased. When you plan these projects out ahead of time, setting aside weekly, monthly or quarterly money needed for your project, you wont feel the "pinch" when you actually make the purchase. For example, show season includes many unknown expenses: extra class fees, proper apparel, needed products for your horse, higher stalling than expected, etc. With unexpected expenditures like this, start saving now.
Monthly, save a set amount of money in a separate envelope for expenditures that are unknowns. Be consistent with your saving through out the year. This will help to cover OR completely cover the expenditures that you have. You may also find that you don't even touch this budgeted money. In either case, you will find that your planning puts you ahead rather than coming up short when it's most needed. If your envelope grows, you're ahead and will have the reserve when needed! It's amazing to see what happens when you skip the "on the run" coffees, sodas and treats. You will end up with more money than you expected and have saved for something much more long lasting! What is your riding like right now? Are you schooling with an instructor? Are you diligently working by yourself to accomplish self set goals? Getting ready to ride and train your young horse? Maybe you're taking a break and will be back in the saddle soon.
In any of these cases, take some time to think about what you would like to do next. Students with instructors continually work toward a goal and spend hours practice riding. They know about the schooling, shows, or circuit that they will be attending. If you're not involved in a set program think about some of the fun and gratifying things that you can do with your horse. There are many state parks that you can ride through, even horse parks that offer wonderful scenery as well as the opportunity for both horse and rider to be inspired! Check out the place, set the date, and get it on your new calendar!
One other big consideration for your new year is if you are set for a hay and feed source. Do you need to search out a better source so that you get good hay? Now is the time to make some preliminary calls to local hay farmers or your extension agency. I find that when I call one person, I get 2 other names of people that may be able to help me. By making a few calls, you can get good information and learn a lot! You may want to start to find out about any local auctions that sell hay or horse products. Most often they are held weekly and you can find some wonderful buys. The thing about auctions is that you need to be watching on a weekly basis (hay and products are never the same from week to week, and not every week are there always good buys).
Also, you need to be sure to thoroughly check out what you're purchasing before you buy, and know the going prices so that you don't over bid. I'm sure you will be able to think of many more "to do's" that you want to accomplish this year. With just a little bit of time in planning, and using your calendar as a tool, I know you will be much further ahead. The burden of trying to remember will be on your calendar so that all you have to do is take a glance and know where you're headed! I hope you have a beautiful and wonderful January in this brand New Year! Hot- mash for the horses and 'cheers' with a cup of hot cocoa to you all!
________________Debbie has over 45 years experience with horses and equine-related businesses. She has owned, trained, boarded horses and run stables at various times in her career. She is a certified fence installer, has given balanced riding lessons, and has shown horses in Western, Western Pleasure, Trail, English, Hunter/Jumper, Fox Hunting, Hunter Trials, Dressage and driving classes. Debbie has been involved in foaling, and just about every aspect of horse ownership possible, and she welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in using any articles by Debbie, please send her an email.