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How to Become an Organized Horse Owner in 10 Days

How to Become an Organized Horse Owner in 10 Days

Updating memberships, subscriptions, and organizing paperwork are just a few things you can do to get organized for the new year.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

It’s the time of year again. Everyone is making resolutions, many of which focus on getting organized in the new year. Pinterest is virtually bursting off the screen with plans and checklist for organizing everything from your meal schedule to decluttering that scary closet in the spare bedroom that might literally burst if someone cracks it open. But what about us equestrians? I have yet to find a Pinterest post on getting my horse life organized, so I decided that if I wanted a plan I would need to make one myself. So I did, and now I’m sharing it with you.

Day 1: Fill Up Your New Calendar With This Year’s Horse-Related Dates

One of my favorite things? Opening a fresh day-planner on January 1. To me the blank pages show all the openness and possibilities the year ahead offers. I get out a special pen (purple is my signature color) and start filling in dates for horse shows, clinics, and camping trips. It’s fun on a wintery January afternoon to think ahead to July, when I’ll head to our state’s biggest dressage show. I also add to-dos for the months ahead. For example, I always have the vet out in late March for my horses’ wellness exams, and I know that I need to order hay quarterly.

Day 2: Update Equine Memberships and Subscriptions

My equine organization renewals all fall in January, so this is a great time to make sure they’re all paid and up-to-date. This is also a good time to update subscriptions to publications, such as The Horse’s print and digital editions (hint, hint)!

Day 3: Inventory Your Equine First Aid Kit

Inventory supplies, check medication expiration date (toss anything that’s past-date), and restock what’s missing. When an emergency arises (and with horses, you know they unfortunately will), you'll be ready.

Day 4: Organize Paperwork

Do you know where your horse’s registration papers are? Is his veterinary medical file in order? If not, track down any important papers, make copies, and store originals in a safe or safety deposit box. Then fill a binder with the copies (which can come in handy for horse shoes) and create a file for storing veterinary and farrier records throughout the year.

Day 5: Clean Out Your Car/Truck

Right now, I have in my backseat no less than one saddle, three saddle blankets, one clean winter blanket, a pair of boots, a lead rope, and something that doesn’t smell very good. Take Day 5 of our equine organization challenge to clean every horse item out of your vehicle and move them closer to similar items (i.e., horse boots in the barn, human boots in the house).

Day 6: Sort Through Bits, Bridles, and Leather Goods

Get a great big box and draw some dollar signs on it. This is where you’re going to put all the tack items you no longer need. Once it’s full, you can take the box to your local tack consignment store or post the items for sale on Craigslist or Ebay (hence the dollar signs), or you can donate the contents to an equine rescue or therapeutic riding center. Also get out a trash can, which you’ll use for anything that’s broken, dirty, or no longer useful. (Note to self: It’s okay to finally throw away your champion gaming pony’s green nylon bridle from 30 years ago).

Day 7: Deep Condition Saddles and Check for Damage

In my area, our dry winter weather is especially hard on saddles. Horse shows and riding clinics prompt me to keep my saddles clean during spring, summer, and fall, but I need a date with the saddle soap to make sure it’s done in the winter as well.

Day 8: Sort Blankets and Sheets

Raise your hand if you own a horse blanket that’s at least 20 years old. Now raise your hand if a packrat recently nibbled on said 20-year-old blanket. (Am I the only one raising my hand?) It’s time for it, and any others beyond repair, to make their way into the garbage. I’m really going for it this year and will also clean and send any blanket that doesn’t have a matching horse into my consignment box. (Although the past has taught me that the second you get rid of an 84-inch blanket, another 84-inch horse will waltz into your life).

Day 9: Go Through Grooming Supplies

It’s time to sort through brushes and discard and replace any broken or busted brushes. Do you have duplicates? Pack them up separately to make a grooming kit that lives in your horse trailer. Any other extras can go into the consignment or donation box.

Day 10: Organize Photos

If you’re like me, your phone and Facebook are full of horse photo from the past year. Instead of risking losing these special memories, make a photo book and include all the photos of your horse from the previous year. Several online companies offer custom-printing solutions—try Costco, Shutterfly, or Picaboo.

I haven’t even started yet, and I’m already tired! Phew. I’m sure once I get started, I’ll have even more tasks to add to my list. What would you include?

About the Author

Michelle N. Anderson, TheHorse.com Digital Managing Editor

Michelle Anderson serves as The Horse's digital managing editor. In her role, she produces content for our web site and hosts our live events, including Ask the Vet Live. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She's a Washington State University graduate (Go Cougs!) and holds a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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