Sunday, February 7, 2010

On a beautiful sunny day, even a big pile of horse poo holds promise

While the thermometer dipped to some pretty cool temperatures this weekend, the bright sunshine seemed to bring out lots of friendly smiles as the ever so delicate scent of spring started to play on the minds of many. Saturday morning was so brisk that the pipes in the barn were frozen, and I initially thought I'd leave the horses in the barn, but soon realized that they were well equipped and much better off to enjoy the warm sunshine, so out they went. For my part, I cleaned their stalls, topped up their water and measured out their daily ration of grain. As I do my barn choirs I can't help but hearken back to the time, a few years ago, when a couple were referred to me in need of a hand up. They had 15 horses, mostly Arabians, and through some set of circumstances that I never fully grasped, had lost their farm. As a result, they were looking for lodging for themselves and their 15 equine friends. I met the couple - they seemed nice enough and in fact I thought I might be able to find a place for their skills at the spa. We worked out a deal that I think helped them get back on their feet, but ultimately wasn't meant to be a long term association. They moved on "to greener pastures", less one mare who stayed with me as part of our deal. The reason I'm telling this story is that I used to visit them at the barn where they were always working hard at the barn chores, feeding, grooming and mucking stalls. I remember thinking that their skills could be put to better use than this, as surely the job of picking up horse poo was something that anyone could do. It seems somewhat ironic then that years later, I'm the one meticulously picking the poo out of the wood shavings, as I ponder how the relationship between man and horse has evolved to this. Did you know that the average horse leaves behind about 35 pounds of poo each and every day? For more horse facts, click here. Not to worry - all this will make good compost for the garden in a couple of years. For my part, I spend much more time doing chores than I spend riding. Maybe when the snow and ice is gone and I'm brave enough to venture back into the saddle of one of these magnificent beasts they will remember how well I served them before they decide to send me flying off their back.

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