Saturday, May 8, 2010

Good Enough

One of the things I struggle with when I'm working with horses, or horse-keeping, and in life in general, is "good enough". I tend to want to be a perfectionist, which either means that: I have to obsessively oversee every detail, say of my horses' care, or else I worry that things aren't being handled properly (sometimes, unfortunately, for good reason, which tends to reinforce my tendencies); or I worry so much that I won't do something correctly or make the right decision that I have trouble making a decision at all. I suppose trying to control things, and get things right, is just a way of feeling safe (or feeling that my horses will be safe).

The transition from having Maisie, and possibly Dawn as well, at our current barn, where I'm there at least twice a day, do all the feed decisions and turnout handling, to the barn where Maisie (and Dawn at some point I expect) is going where I can ask for but not control things, will be a big one for me. Figuring out how not to worry when you don't control every detail is hard - I've had some bad experiences at boarding barns with people not paying attention - the horse that came in from turnout with a nail in its foot that no one noticed until I came to the barn (I still can't figure that one out since the horse couldn't walk with a nail sticking out of the bottom of its foot), the horse that coliced because no one noticed the warning signs, etc. Although I expect that having horses at home (not an option for me) can lead to the highest standards of care, boarding barns, if they're well-run, can do a job that is good enough to ensure horse health and safety.

One thing that makes this transition a bit easier for me is that my older daughter works at the new barn and will have her eyes on Maisie, and will be doing her turnout and bring-in handling for now, and I also feel that the barn does a good job watching out for the horses - for example, the head guy who lives on the property does an evening barn check on all the horses. I will also see my horse almost every day - I believe it's important for someone who knows a horse well and is observant to have "eyes on the horse" every day.

Things can go wrong at any barn, but I'll have to work hard at not obsessing about Maisie's care. I need to pay attention to be sure that things are good enough but without worrying myself too much in the process. These tendencies of mine also apply to how I work with horses, but that's a topic for a different day.


  1. That is definitely the hard part. I've done many a surprise visit to barns and found things to be pretty haphazard. The barn I'm at now doesn't look like much, but yo can tell by the condition of every horse there, that what really matters is being taken care of.

    Plus it's virtually without drama. :)

  2. I understand how you feel . I have all mine here at home , but when I have had to have them elswhere I am an obsessive nut! Nobody cares for our babies quite the way we do . SOunds like she will be well cared for though so try to trust. I will make it easier I am sure knowing your daghter is on the task

  3. The good news...your daughter will be there too. Try it. If it does not work, bring her back. Maybe she could be there during the grass months and home the rest of the time.
    You will know what to do.

  4. I understand totally how you feel. I have mostly had my horses at home since I was 16. Even at 16 I made all the decisions for my horses. It is really hard for me to let go of that control. Kinsey was moved today to my trainer's and I had to drive over behind him just to take her off the trailer. I am just on pins and needle tonight and can't wait to check on her tomorrow.

    With your daughter there, that should help.

  5. OH Kate I understand exactly what you mean. I travel out to Sam every morning and night to look after him because the gentleman who runs the agistment place really has no idea about horses. I don't even think he would be able to tell if a horse was in the middle of having a colic attack. On the weekends it is nothing for me to go out 3 times a day.

    I am known as the padantic horse owner where I currently keep Sam and I can not wait for the next two weeks to go by so I can finally have him at my back door so I can look after him properly. I still am not happy with the level of care that I can give him now.

    Sounds like a good barn though and after a few weeks couldn't you bring them back?

  6. I understand completely because my daughter and myself are the same way.
    When we finally got a farm of our own, my husband actually said, now you can't complain about the care they're getting because you two are responsible for everything. I don't like the way most barns are run and now we are able to make sure things are run the way we want them to be.

    It's really good that your daughter will be there to keep and eye on things when you're not there. Good luck in the new barn. Happy Mother's Day to you.

  7. It's hard being a perfectionist around horses - so much of it you have no control over. It is better when you can do everything yourself, but even then... horses have a way of 'flexing' your standards.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  8. I am fortunate that #1 my horses are home and that #2 if they do need to go somewhere else for whatever reason, I have people I trust. Like the barn Winter alluded to, it doesn't look like much, but I know they care for my horses like they were their own.

  9. i'm a lot like you - i'm a perfectionist and i worry about everything. i had to really work at not being a 'boarder from hell.' i thought the stress would get better having my own place where i was in total control (except for when our barn helper doesn't work out, but that's another issue!) but i actually think i stress more being completely responsible for everything! now i have to work on letting the little stuff go and be satisfied that the horses are healthy and happy so the other stuff isn't such a big deal... so hard to find that balance ;-\

    it's great you get to be there often enough and that your daughter will also be around to keep an eye on things. hope you'll all be happy at the new barn!

  10. Funny, so many of the comments are alike!!! I too obsess about my horse's care. As far as I'm concerned, no one can care for her the way I can. I think it is extremely hard for any of us to hand over control of our horses' daily care once we have had full control for any amout of time. Heck, I'm struggling with leaving my mare with a friend for 4 days, so that I can go on a family vacation. I'd rather stay home and take care of the animals than trust that someone will care for the properly!!!

  11. I try not to obsess and luckily I share with a friend whom I rely on to help me out. But she's at the point of looking for her own place as neither of us can cope with being on shared yards *lol*

  12. I know how you feel!! I've never boarded a horse and I don't think I could. I would worry constantly. I'm already agonizing over the fact I may have to board Chrome for a few days in October lol.

    I used to work at a boarding barn. I was the evening feeder. I've been complimented by the owner several times on my being observant of the horses. I caught things early before they became big problems. In fact the last time I visited she told me I was her favorite feeder for that and other reasons and that I was welcome back anytime! I was so happy to hear that. :) I can't imagine how some people can be around horses and not have a clue how they're feeling or acting. It's second nature to me.

    Sorry for rambling on. I'm glad you're daughter will be there to watch her and you'll be able to see her everyday so that's good. You shouldn't have any real reason to worry, although if you're like me you'll worry anyway. :)


Thank you for commenting - we appreciate it. No spam or marketing comments will be published.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.