Thank you for the encouraging words. How do I do it? I go to work and take care of the horses. Not too much else...
I get up 5:30-5:45am on weekdays. I get Hobbs' Cushings meds from my kitchen fridge, slide on my boots, and walk down to the barn with 4 dogs in tow.
I'm met at the barn gate by a hungry barn kitty and 6 chickens all demanding to be fed. First I open Cotton's stall, place Poppy's feed in her stall, then go get Poppy and Cotton. I always lead Poppy in from her turnout and let Cotton walk himself to his stall. Without fail every morning barn kitty hides in the bushes and waits for Cotton to walk by so she can pounce and scare him. Sometimes her timing is off and she scares the shit out of Poppy and I.
Next I bring in Ketel, then Tank, feed kitty, feed chickens, and feed Hobbs outside. Due to his medical issues he does best to live outside however he spent many, many years as a show pony and does not want to be away from the barn. We have compromised and he has free roam. I leave his stall door open so in case the weather is bad he can go inside. It appears he only uses his stall for bathroom purposes though. He seems happy with this and loves that he can visit everyone while they are in their stalls. He also likes to turn on fans, lights, and let horses out of their stalls. I feel like my barn is now booby trapped to prevent these shenanigans. Lastly I take off or switch out sheets/blankets based on weather for the day, clean everyone's feet and make sure shoes are attached.
I get home from work, change into barn clothes, slip on boots, and walk down to the barn. 4 dogs in tow. Again. Feed chickens and lock Hobbs in his stall. I get out whoever I am going to ride, ride, possibly lunge or ride another. While those horses are cooling out I throw hay in the turnouts, blanket as necessary, then prepare feed and feed. Then I turn out. Since Ketel is a baby I make sure he is groomed daily whether ridden or not so that he practices standing in cross ties etc. After I get everyone turned out I clean all the stalls, stuff hay nets for the next day, clean/fill water buckets (I am anti-auto waterers), and prepare morning feed. My evening routine takes about 2.5 hours and sometime more if I clean tack or in the spring/summer when I can ride more than 1.
Are you tired yet? This is what I do 7/365. There are no sick days or days off. If I want to go out of town I have to make arrangements for the horses. If I want to go to dinner or plan an evening with friends I have to plan so I can feed the horses a little early that night. I LOVE having my horses at home. I LOVE that I see them all the time. I love how they whinny for me when I pull in the driveway. But I have to shorten this routine and the only way to do it is downsize. 5 is too many. It took me learning this the hard way. So now I am wracking my brain to formulate a plan. Something that is best for me as well as the horses.