Neu Perspectives

Life Hacks

Horse people know there is no substitute for hours logged and hard work — but here are some "life hacks" to help solve any little problems.

Horse people know there is no substitute for hours logged and hard work — unless you figure out these little problem-solvers called “life hacks.”

We will sidestep the subject of a “hack” (aka a journalist that produces dull, unoriginal work) for obvious reasons and move on to solely “life hacks.” A life hack is a technique to help manage a simple activity or a person’s time more efficiently. And for those of us who thrive on ingenuity, productivity, simplicity and just flat-out amazement, the concept of learning new life hacks will be appreciated. 

Granted, the best life hack a cowboy, cowgirl or horse person (in my humble opinion) can have at all times is a pocketknife. My little Case Trapper has saved the day in many dangerous situations and protected me from the embarrassment of being unprepared in thousands of small instances. The empowerment and safety a proper pocketknife can bring someone is endless, and, in animal ownership, it is crucial to have one on hand.  

Although, I’m confident that the Western Horseman audience would never leave such a crucial tool in their other pair of pants by accident (or wash those pants with the knife, or realize they also left Chapstick in the same pants when washing them, and it melted). 

Anyway, should a buckaroo find himself without a cutting device when feeding hay, there are still options. He can cut baling twine with baling twine! A free piece of baling twine can be used to saw on the ones still around the hay. Run it under the tied twine and saw it back and forth until the twine breaks. Also, a hay hook can work in a pinch by hooking it under the twine and then twisting the hay hook round and round until the tension is so great that the baling twine pops open. 

Of course, baling twine is a topic that could write its own chapter book, but an overview of some other uses includes sweat scraper, belt, makeshift halter, a temporary fence patch, (for some) a permanent fence patch, hang water buckets, something to tie up the dog with when he’s making mischief amongst the cattle and so many more.  


A few other things that have made my life a bit more efficient:

— Use diapers for bandages. They work as a poultice for abscesses but are also effective if you soak them and freeze them to wrap and ice strange jointed areas on a horse (knees, for example). 

— Lingerie bags can help keep polo wraps from tangling in the wash. Nothing is more aggravating (besides being sans pocketknife) than a large, messy ball of polos fresh out of the dryer.

— Egg whites can help heal wounds. Take an egg, separate the whites from the yolks and apply them to a multitude of wounds. The protein in the whites helps heal quickly with minimal scarring, and it helps fight infection, too. I’ve used it on many species, and it never ceases to amaze me.

— White vinegar is incredible for removing urine stains from tails.

— Detangler gel (i.e., Cowboy Magic) applied to sticky zippers makes them like new again.

— Shower caps are great to have on hand for bucket covers (works for keeping flies out of grain and supplements once mixed in the bucket, and it also keeps water in better when you’re lugging them across the barn aisle to hang in a stall.

I’ve no doubt there are thousands of clever tips and life hacks out there for those of us who live the life we do. When you generally do things the hard way like I do, it sure means a lot to find a handy timesaver now and again. Please feel free to share yours with the world! 

And I won’t play favorites, but bonus points to anyone who tells me how to remove Chapstick stains from denim. 

1 thought on “Life Hacks”

  1. Most wax-based substances can be ironed out and the color treated separately. Place a stack of newspaper under the cloth with the stain and another stack on the top of the stain. Iron on high temp, moving the iron constantly. The wax will melt and be absorbed by the paper. If this does not work, reduce the amount of paper. Once the paper has absorbed enough wax, remove and replace it with clean paper. Continue until all of the wax is gone. If you have residual color left on the fabric, try using Dawn dish detergent to remove the color. If there is minimal color, use a laundry stain pre-treatment according to the label. This has worked on red lipstick and red crayon.

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