Saturday, February 21, 2015

bringing the horses in

This was the beginning of the sleet/ice/snow combo we had early this week, and this was the day Cody and Keil Bay started the routine of trying to go in the house with me when I went to the back gate. I wish I'd taken photos of them standing there after I went through the gate, heads hanging over, asking to come in.

What were they thinking? That it was cold and Good Things resided in the big stall with lights in the windows and their humans walking around? That inside the big stall there were endless supplies of apples and carrots and homemade horse cookies and other yummy things?

I don't know, but the thought of bringing the horses in has always been one of my dreams. Not like in silly photos where horses lie on sofas, but in some way bringing their stalls to one wall of our living room where they could come hang out with us when they wanted to do so. 

Sometimes I make sketches of a big connected house and barn, where stalls and our living space share that wall, and where "going out to do barn chores" simply means walking to one end of the house. Where maybe an indoor riding arena is part of the plan, so that on cold icy days horses and pony and donkeys can gallop wildly and safely instead of the wild and ice-crunching galloping they did yesterday afternoon.

So far in my designs I end up with a sort of large rectangular box that isn't very aesthetic from the outside, and I haven't figured out how to incorporate the pastures around it, nor how to open it up so that it feels like a home and not a big dark box. 

Other times, high wind times, I think of converting the garage underneath us to a barn. If I put in a line of fence and put down rubber mats and created four big box stalls (and taught the horses to ignore the garage doors going up and down) I could bring the herd in when the winds kick up and they would be right downstairs, safe and sound. And going out to do the chores would mean walking down the stairs to the garage. 

I'm not sure why I want them even closer. By most home and barn standards, they're amazingly close to me already. Before we found November Hill we looked at a property where the barn had an apartment at one end and you walked through a doorway right into the barn aisle itself. But it was a tiny apartment and we were too many humans to fit into it.

Finally today we get back to the upper 40s and maybe the heavy rain predicted for tomorrow (and a high in the 50s) will melt everything down. Then we'll have a sea of mud instead of ice and snow and I'll want to bring them in to keep them out of that too. 

In 20-some years when it's just two little donkeys here, you might see me posting about little hoof boots to give them traction on hardwood floors and a corner set up with shavings where they (they really would) do their business, or maybe we would install a donkey door so they could go in and out at will. Two little donkeys wouldn't be any different in our living space than, say, two St. Bernards, but I'll always savor the image of Keil Bay standing in the kitchen eating apples out of the fruit bowl. 


Grey Horse Matters said...

I think that years ago I heard something about how in the colder states barns were attached to the houses by a hallway. It enabled the farmers to feed and take care of their animals without going out in the brutal winters. I always wondered about the smell, being so close to the house?

Another thing I've seen on TV is the mini horses who assist the blind. They can be trained to go outside and wear traction shoes in malls. So good luck with your architecture plans and keep dreaming.

Glad you're warming up again. We are too it was 1 degree this morning instead of below zero. We are expecting some snow this afternoon but nothing awful.

billie said...

You are my weather hero! That you live through such brutal winters while giving magnificent care to your herd is my inspiration. I do not know how you do it!

WRT smell - I don't know how that would be. But living with 5 cats who sometimes use litter boxes inside the house I think horse manure pales in comparison! :)

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that there's someone else in the world that has the same dream. I've always wished I could have a house/barn, where the horse stalls had dutch doors that opened into my living space, where the horses could hand their heads over and converse with me.

billie said...

Kindred spirit, Kate. :)

We visited a barn once where the living space was upstairs but there was a huge living room space open to the barn aisle as well. It didn't share an actual wall but if you chose to let the horses walk freely inside the barn area they were also free to walk into the living room with you. There were tales of the resident mini horse who was often found on the sofa. I don't know if I would even need the upstairs part of the house!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Perhaps a transitional room that humans and equines share? Between the stalls and the human side... a lounge if you will, with some simple wooden "furniture" and shavings on the floor?

I believe Val would feel he is entitled to come into my space. If only the Shimmy Shack had a few more square feet. ;D

billie said...

That would be a good compromise... but I still have the image of us doing our normal stuff and them standing there watching. :)

Kyle Kimberlin said...

I checked the CC&RS of my homeowners association. Sadly, they saw it coming: no horses in the condo. This place is just no fun sometimes.

billie said...

LOL!! Kyle, if you start a petition on I will sign it and we will fight this travesty! :)