The Minimalist Horse Owner: a starting point.

The impossible, right? With all the stuff we aquire over the years from owning one horse, let alone multipe, the idea of a life with horses being a minimal one may seem like a fairytale concept for many. It’s a very true fact that you always NEED (/want) something new for either yourself or your equine friend; and with so many new products constantly becoming available in the equestrian market the temptation to buy is just unbearable! So what’s the solution? Become a minimalist horse owner! This means no more rugs of every possible weight and for every concievable purpose, no more numnahs for each day of the week, no more ‘it may come in useful one day’ items and no more than one of each type of grooming brush. Leave your yard space fresh and clutter free and free up storage space in the process (for your new purchases to go, of course).

So here are my ideas for doing a declutter of your equestrian life. Out with the old and make room for the new!

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Before
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After

1.Tackle one area at a time. 

So think of your storage at your yard. Often we keep things in multiple places – for me I have: the feed room, outside my stable, the tack room and the storage container. So if I’m doing a declutter I will tackle one of these places at a time.

2. Make four piles. 

Simply go through all your items and be RUTHLESS. Anything that you haven’t used in the past year GOES. Make a ‘keep’ and a ‘getting rid of’ pile for each area. Once you’ve decided on your ‘keep’ pile, sort the ‘geting rid of’ pile into further sections: ‘sell’, ‘charity’ and ‘tip’. Allocate a bin bag or feed bag or anything of the sort to each pile and that way everything is easily transportable so there’s no excuses for putting it all back!.

3. Sort your rugs.

Rugs are the bulkiest items to store and they’re the things that take up the most room. So, for this reason, consider narrowing down your rug collection to absiloute essentials. I would recommend this consisting of:

  • 1 turnout rug.
  • 100g liner
  • 200g liner
  • 300g liner
  • 400g liner
  • 1 cooler
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 med/heavy weight stable rug.

Obviously if you have a native or something that doesn’t need such heavy rugs adapt to suit, i.e. only have a 100g and a 200g liner – even better!

I swear by using liners rather than individual rugs – they take up less room and they can also be used under a fleece for stable wear. I would rather spend more money on one high quality rug than pay less for lots of cheap ones. Saying this, second-hand rugs actually sell really well, so there’s what you do with the old ones!

Doubling up is also a great way to own less rugs. I nearly always put two rugs on, for example a fleece under your medium stable rug instead of getting a bulky heavy weight.

5. Clean and organize all the items that you’re keeping. 

Now it’s time to give some of the items your keeping a spring clean. Make them seem worth keeping! It’s easy for things to become ridden with dust and even mould, at the yard, so, now that you own a managable amount of stuff, once a month or so, give it all a but of TLC. Clean your tack and bits, wash your fly rug and numnahs, wipe over your storage box etc.

Then, put everything away in an orderly and efficient way. You should have a lot more room now that you’ve disposed of all your clutter – so as you now USE everything you own, store it in a way that’s easily accessible. Another key thing to do, is to store away rugs that are out of season, so in summer store all your heavy liners and stable rugs, and in the winter put away your fly rugs etc. This makes everything so much more handy!

5. Dedicate time to getting rid of unwanted items. 

Now that everything’s organised, allocate a day or a morning to getting rid of it all. Take to the tip what you need to take to the tip, drop off what you need to at the equine charity collection point (a lot of horse shops do this, very handy!) and advertise what your going to sell online, or better still, give it to the second-hand section of your local equine store for them to sell. (This means even if it doesn’t sell quickly it’s out of your life!). Plus you can make some extra cash to spend on your new expensive rug!

6. Take inventory of everything you now own. 

List making! One of my favoruite things to do. So to start of with, it’s good to know everything you do own. Categorize your items per horse (if you have multiple) and for function (riding equipment, grooming, mucking out equipemtn etc.). You should be able to write all your items from memory, as they should all be so important to you – how could you forget any of them!! By doing this, you know exactly what you have so you shouldn’t have to buy another version of something you already have! Plus, if there’s something new that you want (e.g. a new numnah), be strict and limit yourself to only being allowed to own 4 numnahs, so if you buy a new one, you have to give one to charity or sell one in return.

So hopefully this all wasn’t too terrifying a prospect, but it feels so much better and more efficient when you don’t have useless old clutter lying about everywhere taking up space. And who knows, maybe if minimalism works at the yard, it may even transfer to other parts of your life, like your house! Too far…?

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