Wow! Time is flying and the Washoe ride is already this weekend! Only a few more days left to get stuff packed and ready to go. I thought I'd share my normal pre-ride checklist of things to do. I'm a bit of an obsessive list maker, since I'm not the best at remembering everything if it's not written down. This list is mainly the tasks I need to accomplish before I'm ready to leave for a ride, and the general time frame I like to accomplish them (although I have been known to be running around Friday afternoon cursing and throwing random crap in the trailer):
Two Days Before Leaving
Shop for people food and drinks
Purchase any necessary items for rider, camper, rig or horse
Collect tack and items to be washed
- Saddle pad(s)
- Pommel and/or cantle packs
- Bridle and bit
- Halter, leadrope & reins
- Half chaps
- Horse blankets/coolers/rump rug
- Splint boots
- Water bottles
- Elyte Syringes
Most of this goes straight in the washer and air dries. The bit, bottles and syringes go in the dishwasher (often the bottles and syringes are already washed, ready to go from prior use). Biothane tack can go in either.
Inventory crew box and saddle packs, resupply as necessary (post coming on this)
Give a wet mash with electrolytes or additional salt added, this is to help get the horse drinking additional fluids so he's pre-loaded as much as possible on his hydration. The extra salts aren't going to still be in his system by ride time, but they're going to encourage drinking for now.
If my horse was on a more restricted diet, I would also increase the hay ration for the next several days, making sure he had free choice hay available. As it is, he has free choice hay daily.
One Day Prior to Leaving
Do any cooking or assembly necessary for rider food
Prepare ziploc baggies with horse's dry grain/mash ingredients, load into trailer
Stuff hay in bale bag, wrestle into trailer
Clip horse as necessary
Pack rider clothes and other gear, load into camper
Repack washed tack items into appropriate locations
Give wet mash with added salts
Before Leaving for Ride
DRINK FLUIDS - historically, I get busy doing "stuff" and end this day dehydrated. If I make it a point to drink plenty in advance, then I start AND finish my ride the next day in much better shape.
Preload elyte syringes if you do that kind of thing. Each horse is different and you need to find what works best for you. With Sinatra, he preferred to eat his in with his mash - he HATED being syringed and giving them with a "filler" just made it worse. Just plain elytes with water and then a good rinse worked best for him. I'm going to have to see what works best for Diego. I prefer to give them in their feed **IF** they'll eat it.
Give horse a bath if weather permits (I've also done this in advance and then used a light sheet to help keep him clean, really it's about when the best forecast is since I don't have hot running water).
Pre-fill water bottles for ride
Pack all food items
Ensure all critical items are in trailer and/or camper - saddle, girth, bridle, pad, helmet, clothes, shoes, horse and human food. Half that you could borrow in a pinch if needed and the rest is really just fluff (but it's fluff I LIKE to have, don't get me wrong).
Make sure I have necessary paperwork and/or directions to the ride
Don't forget to load the horse...
At the Ride Site
DRINK - my goal is to make sure I drank *at least* 64 oz of fluids before bed tonight...
Unload and set up camp
Get checked and vetted in
Re-attach pommel and/or cantle packs
Go for a brief ride if time allows
Determine if crew box will be needed, add any last minute items if so (i.e. ziploc baggie of grain for horse, people lunch, additional drinks, etc) - drop crew box in designated spot
Give wet mash with electrolytes in the evening
Eat a good dinner
Set out my clothes for in the morning
GO VISIT AND SOCIALIZE!
Try to get to bed at a decent time
Do you have a special pre-ride routine that you use? What about any key items of preparation that you just can't do without?