Tuesday, December 16, 2008

how to feed 6 hungry equines, muck 5 stuffed stalls, groom 4 muddy bodies, dump 3 loads of poop, play with 2 silly geldings, dance with 1 painted pony

... and supervise two adventuring donkeys, all in one day (while daughter naps on sofa with sore throat):

Take lots of breaks!

After feeding breakfast, I made a run to the store for essential sore throat/cold supplies: tissues, ginger root, lemons, honey, ginger ale, popsicles, soup, and, most importantly, an advance reward for a day full of work - chocolate-covered, cream filled donuts.

After mucking the first two stalls I went trekking with donkeys:

Then I did another stall, groomed Salina, and exercised two silly geldings:

The pony couldn't stand it - so I let him in too, but he harassed the Big Bay so much I had to dance privately with the Little Man:

Then came more grooming, another stall, and Keil Bay and I took a break to play one of his favorite games.

He stands in the stall with me while I muck. The wheelbarrow is all that lies between Keil Bay and the big round bale in the barnyard. He watches me and the stall door. If I get more than 3 steps away from the stall door, he takes that as permission to barrel over the wheelbarrow and head for the round bale. This is like a game of chess. It takes great skill and thinking ahead to muck a whole stall without taking more than 3 steps. The key is to use the Big Bay's good manners to get him to step back so that he's always between me and the poop. He won't bowl me over to go through the door.

In between moves, he tries to distract me by offering his head for a scratch. He rubs gently on my shoulder. I scratch, he turns away, I stop scratching, he comes back for more. He offers his nostril so I can blow into it. This goes on and on.

Finally I declare myself the winner and he heads out to the paddock so I can finish off the stall.

All done! Except for forking hay into mangers, closing gates, and hoping husband will give clean water when he feeds dinner!


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a very full day. I like the chess game with the big bay. I've been there with the wheelbarrow and a horse or two trying to sneak out unnoticed. Don't they know they're too big to slip by a diligent worker.
Hope your daughter is better soon and try to take a rest or you'll get yourself sick too.

billie said...

Daughter has an ice skating party on Friday,a Pony Club thing on Saturday, and the winter solstice is Sunday, so we are trying valiantly to get her better. You're right though - the last thing I need is to get sick myself!

jme said...

whew! sounds like you've really earned those donuts - and then some :-)

billie said...

jme, I felt so too!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whew! I'm exhausted just reading all of this. You better take care of yourself, too. Or whoever's left is going to have a very hard time of it. lol!~

But really, how wonderful to have the Big Bay playing and teasing you while you get the mucking done. Sure makes the job much more fun, although a little exasperating...in a good way. hehe!

I loved seeing all the photos and imagining you dancing with the pony, trekking with the donkeys and playing with the geldings, too.

And you even found the strength to take good care of the sick human in your care, too. :)

You truly are super Mama!

New Mexico

billie said...

LOL - I can pull it off maybe a few times a year, Lisa! :)