I've been on full-time barn duty for the past week while V attended her niece's graduation. Now that she's back I can safely say all went well - the boys behaved themselves, no illnesses, injuries or great escapes. Dusty did lose his fly mask a couple of times, but it was a great excuse to hop on Legs bareback and go a-huntin'. Not quite as exciting as chasing fox or coyote, but hey - lemons into lemonade!
V is always grateful that I am willing to take care of the boys so she can go out of town from time to time, but the truth is I really do enjoy it. As opposed to the large operations I used to work at (the largest of which had 100+ horses), taking care of 3 and 1/4 equines is refreshingly easy. I love the simple efficiency of her little set up, and the ease of the daily routine allows plenty of time for thoughtful contemplation.
Just as you can tell a lot about a person by the decor of her home, you can also tell a lot about a horse by the way he keeps his stall. I admit I am often guilty of humanizing horses' characteristics and I am personally OK with this. That being said, while doing stalls this week I have made the following characterizations.
Please do not be scared; this will be relatively painless.
Dusty: The Bachelor It's no secret that most males seem to lack accuracy when aiming their stream at the porcelain god. This deficiency does seem to be more prevalent in single males. I have no scientific proof to back this up, but my theory is that the problem does decrease with marriage/co-habitation with the fairer sex (we are called that for a reason) due to said fairer sexes' constant bitching on the subject. That, or they simply get better at cleaning up after themselves. Dusty earns the title of "bachelor" because his stall is devoid of the "wet spot" - his entire stall is a wet spot. I've never actually caught him doing it, but I would swear that he walks around as he urinates.
Zachary: The Artist You would think that a 9 hand mini-donkey would take full advantage of his 10' x 10' stall and spread things around, but he does not. It's really pretty charming how he backs into one corner to drop his droppings. Perhaps he has some sort of donkey feng shui thing going on. What is only slightly less charming are the corresponding poop patterns on the wall behind his piles. I can only hope that one day an image of Elvis will show up.
Skylar: The Punk Rocker Ever seen - or been a part of - a mosh pit at a concert? I can only imagine that something similar happens in Skylar's stall nightly. I have actually named his particular piece of real estate "The Mash Pit". So thorough is he with the mashing of his poo/pee/hay/shavings that none retains any recognizable quality of its original form, but rather morphs into a new object all together - Poopeehayshave. You may credit me with this discovery at your will.
Legs: The Neat-Freak A good human friend of mine (yes, I have them) falls into this category as well, to the point that she alphabetizes the items in her pantry. I will admit that once or five times I have gone in there and moved one item just to see how long it would take her to notice and move it back (less than 5 minutes if she is cooking). So consistent is Legs with his wet spot, that I regularly have to bring in sand and fill dirt to replenish the hole created from digging it out daily. While he does lack Zachary's piling techniques, his poo piles are lined up perfectly along one wall side by side, in order of completion.
True story - several years ago the barn roof developed a leak directly above Legs' regular stall hay spot. Fearing mold, I chose to move his hay 3 feet to the left until we could get the leak fixed. Unfortunately, not only did I move the hay from the Designated Hay Spot, I chose to move it over a Designated Poo Spot. When I brought Legs in that evening, he went immediately to where his hay should have been. Although the hay was in plain view, he was decidedly confused. He looked at me, looked at where the hay should have been, looked at me again, spotted the hay in a new spot, looked at me pleadingly one more time, then finally took a few tentative bites of hay-in-strange-location. Needless to say, the offensive leak was fixed immediately.
Thus concludes today's admittedly inane observations.
Note: As I finished writing this post, it was brought to my attention by the President of the HPAW Fan Club (Chef) that perhaps people would not be interested in reading the pee and poo habits of my horses, to which I said, "Have you read the title of this blog?".
5 weeks ago