What’s it like having horses at home?
First thing, Greg goes up to the barn to feed carrots. He will do this even if he is leaving at dark-stupid hundred. Before he heads down the driveway, he wants to see both horses with two ears pointing up and four legs pointing down.
When he comes back to the house, he brings the serving buckets from dinner. We leave them in the field/stall after dumping the feed. Right now, it’s a moot point. Both horses are on dry sweet feed, so nothing sticks to the inside of the buckets. When we were serving oil, or soaking alfalfa pellets, it was helpful to have the horses keep the buckets from getting grotty. My inner Pony Clubber wonders about leaving handles in the field but a) the buckets are small and lightweight, given a bucket v. horse situation, the horse would win, and b) the horses LOVE checking them out, even if the buckets are dry and empty. Something might be lurking in the bottom!
Next is breakfast.
The stall opens into the run-in shed which opens into the field. All I need to do is open the door. And wait. You’d think Milton would be at the door demanding to be let in. Not so much. Sometimes they have wondered off to the other end of the pasture. I have to wait for them to wander back. Sometimes they hurry; sometimes not. Overfed much? Even if they are in the area of the barn, Milton has to stare off into space, or circle around inside the run-in shed, or zig to carefully avoid the mud patch – something you love to see in a potential event horse. Heaven forbid I try to get Milton in before he has had his morning carrot. The last time this happened, I thought I was going to have to put halters on to sort everyone out.
While Milton is making up his mind, I have to keep Rodney out of the stall. ‘I’ll go in.’ he says. ‘There’s hay in there.’ he says. ‘Really, not a problem. I’d be happy to go in the stall.’ I have nightmare flashes of what would happen if both horses ended up in the stall at the same time. Milton would kick like a fiend and Rodney would have trouble finding the exit.
I serve hay and leave them to it. Rodney gets his hay next to the stall so that he will keep Milton company.
At some point, I wander back to the barn to let Milton out. Sometimes Rodney has left the shed to graze; other times he is napping next to the stall. The duration of Milton’s contemplation session varies. If it’s raining, I leave him in to eat hay. They’d just stand in the run-in anyway. If it’s winter and a bright sunny day, I let him out early so they can sun. It’s not an exact process. Ideally, we’d like him to get over whatever was bothering him [Naptime] and live out 24/7.
Even if we are leaving right away, we still put Milton up, let him eat, and turn him out a few minutes later. It’s easier than explaining, ‘No, today you eat outside.’
That’s me. Doorwarden to a horse.
The horses wander off. I muck the stall and refill the water. Milton is only in for a few hours. I have to pick up one or two piles. Unlike Rodney, Milton prefers an al fresco urinal. Often, he will pee immediately after being let out. Almost as if he is holding it until then. Rodney, OTOH, prefers to have his urinal lined with shavings. It is almost always the first thing he does when let into the stall. All of which means that Milton’s stall is easy to clean and that I pay way more attention to horse urination patterns than is probably healthy.
Next week – the rest of the day.
If you have horses at home, what is your routine? If you have a long answer & don’t have a blog, would you consider a guest post? If you are a blogger, consider this an informal blog hop invitation. Either way, it would be fun to hear about other people’s barn life.
Thank you for reading,