For the past few weeks, I have been working at Rock Springs 4-H Center in the horse barn. It is hard work: getting 28 horses in every morning, feeding, watering, grooming, fly spraying, saddling, bridling, lining up for a trail ride, giving multiple rides a day-- sometimes even 10 rides a day-- teaching kids how to ride and learn more about horses, watering horses throughout the day.
And finally being able to unsaddle those 28 horses, return their specified tack to their specified spot and turn them all out of an evening. It is a long day, where us wranglers usually end up covered in dirt and smelling more horse than human and showing up late for staff meal times.
It is long, hard and strenuous work, but I love it regardless. I knew coming out to Rock Springs was going to be long, hot days with horses that can be kind of moody. When I tell my family what I do daily at the barn they are kind of shocked, the activity is pretty hard, but to me, these last few weeks have been nothing short of fun and great times with my fellow staff members at Rock Springs and my fellow barn staffers.
For me, making hard work feel easy is all about how you approach it. Yeah, working at the barn is long days where I usually glisten with sweat, and not in an attractive way, and my feet feel like an eighteen-wheeler has run them over they hurt so bad, But I look at the fun times, stories and memories I am making with my fellow staff members.
Though we are working hard and making sure every kid and animal is safe, the entire barn staff loves to tell stories and jokes to keep morale up. Cheesy and pathetic puns have become a day-to-day phrase in the barn and no matter how cheesy or stupid they may sound, they always bring a small smile to people's faces. We have a speaker going playing music, because the barn is just TOO quiet, and we jam to everything from country to 80s rock. Thankfully, we all have pretty similar tastes in music.
We talk goofy and pretend we are the horses voicing their opinions about us, the other horses or anything and everything under the sun. We, as an entire Rock Springs staff, wear Hawaiian shirts on Wednesday, because why not? And we wear tie-dye shirts on Friday to keep the fun alive. We are constantly trying to have a good time because I can guarantee, if I'm having fun and loving my job, that's going to transfer into the kids, adults and everyone else I meet to have a great time too and learn something along the way. Like my many random fun facts about horses.
But my point is, hard work can be as hard or as easy as you make it. You can make it feel like you're being tortured throughout the entire day, or you can make cheesy jokes and tell crazy family stories to take everyone's mind off the hard stuff. We always remain thankful too, I cannot count how many times I have been thankful for the breeze on a hot day, my sunglasses, sunscreen or even a single cloud blocking the sun for a few short minutes.
I try and keep a smile on my face through it all and remember how much worse the weather could actually be, please pray that Kansas doesn't have a record-breaking heat wave this summer.
Working together is a huge thing the barn staff and entire Rock Springs staff is doing. We help each other out when we're in need, no matter how small the deed. Just a little help or kindness can change someone's mood for the entire day and maybe even make them feel like they should pass that good deed on to another person and make their day.
Hard work doesn't mean you have to be unhappy. Hard work means you are working on something that takes strength, both mental and physical. It doesn't mean you have to wear a scowl all day and complain. So my tip for you and your work, whether it's hard or not, is to just have fun. Take the little and recognize them as the blessings they are and be happy you get to receive them.