My husband and son, hard at work.

My husband and son, hard at work.

When I declared at the beginning of the summer, “I’ll be needing my weekends off”, I think I might have been misunderstood. Perhaps what I should have said was, “I’ll be needing every weekend off for the entire summer to complete all of the jobs I don’t have time to do during the week when I’m coaching and training you!”

As much as I’d like to be relaxing poolside each weekend, sipping exotic drinks and soaking in the shortest, but best of all the Canadian seasons, my chosen lifestyle prohibits it. When I say that I need my weekends off it’s because I need to work! Really work! Saturday and Sunday are the two days of the week I use to accomplish all of the tough, sweaty, dirty jobs that need to be done around the farm because that’s when I have the additional power of my husband and son pitching in.

On the weekends we do things like, fix the fences that your horses break (ok, mine too). We also cut hay, rake hay, bale hay, load and unload hay for your horses.(ok, mine too as they tend to eat more than their fair share). We also spend our time harrowing rings, cutting grass, plant trees and generally beautifying the property so everyone has something pretty to look at while they’re riding, which is the point of this whole business. And if that’s not enough, sometimes my services are required to help a client pilot their horse around a show ring. It’s fun but, it does take time away from all the “real” work stuff.

I also need “time off” so I can give my barn helper a day off to visit with her family and friends. My own family learned long ago that if they wanted or needed to see me they’d have to pick up a pitch fork and join me in the barn. They never visit if they can help it. I like to think I’ve taught them self-reliance, but I’m pretty sure they’d call it self-preservation. Either way, they learned to figure things out all by themselves a very long time ago!

I’m not trying to play the “poor me” card; I knew exactly what I was getting into when I took this gig. Forewarned and forearmed, I signed on anyway. These days I try to do all of my whining and complaining when no one is looking, like say…on the weekend. I find it amusing that people sometimes assume I requested my weekends “off” so I could sit back and enjoy them like regular people. I’m here to tell you that farmers are definitely NOT regular people. Summer is a time for us to gear up and get going and I’ll guarantee that no matter how cool the summer’s been, the hay will need to come off the field on the only day temperatures hit 30 degrees and the relative humidity mimics that of a Brazilian rain forest.

I realize that taking time off is important. It helps to refresh and rejuvenate a person and it goes a surprisingly long way to helping maintaining a professional image during those times when you find yourself feeling like your favourite old sweater – kinda worn and torn and frayed around the edges, and not in a good stylish way. So, this summer when you hear me say, “I’ll be needing my weekends off,” what I really mean is… go have some fun in the sun and let me get my work done.