Tuesday 8 November 2016

If Horses Were Part of Your Current Job

The last couple weeks have been extra busy for me with work. I've been spending my evenings at my job instead of at the barn. That doesn't make for very interesting blog posts. However, I then started thinking.... How would riding be different if it was an activity that I did as part of my job?

I don't mean what would things be like if I worked in the horse industry instead of my actual occupation. I mean what if there was some (highly unrealistic) hypothetical situation where I went into the office and my calendar included all my normal work activites, but riding Kachina was one of my projects that my boss wanted completed by the end of the day.

First off, in a field where work safety is extremely important and there is a zero injury goal, I'm pretty sure that riding would be deemed too dangerous and would be against our risk averse corporate policies in general.

However, if it was permitted, I would definitely need some PPE (personal protective equipment): For sure a helmet and closed toe heeled boots would be required, luckily I wear those for every ride anyways. CSA grade 1 steel toes boots, reflective piping, nomex coveralls, and safety glasses would probably be added to the list. 

Riding a 15.2hh horse allows for a fall of over 4' so our company fall arrest policy would also come into play. I don't see how a harness or lanyard would work though, and I absolutely shudder to think about the steel fittings on a harness rubbing against the beautiful leather of my saddle! Maybe a padded or CO2 vest would suffice?

It might not be steam or high voltage electricity, but the amount of hazardous energy a horse can contain would surely involve a Safe Work Permit. I'd have to visit the control room and fill one out before going to catch Kachina. 

The brushes and tack I'd need might be kept in the warehouse so I'd need to sign out those materials. Returning them dirty could get me in trouble.

For the ride itself, there'd probably be some Operating Procedures to follow. Maybe steps on how to mount, or a minimum required warm-up period before adding intensity. 

A serious fall might be a scenario that is given a flowchart and added to the Emergency Response Plan. If I did fall or get hurt, there'd be incident paperwork to complete. But at least any injury would be covered by the WCB!

Under Working-Alone guidelines, I'd need to check in with my supervisor every hour while working with Kachina, or else have a spotter (honestly, this one is a pretty good idea).

Kachina's regular trims, deworming and vaccinations would be given PMs (preventative maintenance work orders) in our maintenance program. Standing Order Purchase Orders would be set up with my vet and farrier,

If I wanted to make any changes to Kachina's feed, tack setup etc., I would need to justify the reason in a form and go through the Management of Change process to get it formally approved and all documentation updated. 

Luckily, there's one element of riding that wouldn't be an issue at my workplace, and that is where to ride. There's a lovely flat grassy field beside the parking lot that could easily fit a full dressage court, and there's also a trail network only steps away.

One of the manager's once joked that I should bring my horse to work for Stampede Week, sometimes I'm tempted to take him up on that just for fun. For the most part though, it's probably a good thing that riding isn't part of my job!

What would riding look like in your job? Would there be a lot of meetings? Stringent bacterial control practices? A computer code to analyze your ride? I'd love to hear!


  1. That sounds like a good way to take all the fun out of riding! I would still be filling out paperwork for all the EPM treatment/vet visit... 😂

    I'm a microbiologist by day, so I would design experiments and test hypotheses...oh wait I already do that to Stinker. I would have to document the results and provide write ups (blog anyone?). So basically I've already brought riding to work or work to riding. I've got problems ;)

    1. Nice! There's so many variables with horses that it's not easy to do accurate experiments on what works and doesn't but certainly good to try :-)

  2. I got a good giggle out of this. Mine would be very similar to yours. I'm sure my trailer would be designated a confined space and therefore I'd need a person to sit outside the trailer and track my movements in and out of it.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, I wasn't sure if it was just my sense of humour that made me think it was funny haha.

      Can't forget about confined spaces! Better wear a gas monitor too, and watch out if your horse snorts or farts while in the trailer, might make it go off!

  3. Oh goodness, we have Work Planning Controls at my job with a huge emphasis on Safety and I can only imagine the paperwork and training we'd have to get before even riding the horse lol

    1. It's weird to think of how much focus we have on safety at work, and then compare that to the relatively huge risks we take every time we climb on top of a horse. I still would never want to give it up though.

  4. Interesting idea. As the HR person at my company I'm pretty sure I would simply outlaw riding as way too dangerous.

    1. Yep, not something that would ever be an allowable level of risk for industry. It's interesting how what is acceptable can vary so much between our work and personal lives :-P