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Used to run a stable and live on a farm, now I am back into banking for awhile. Still have horses and love animals.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Beautiful dirt

I am really dirty right now, working outside here and then going to the barn. I mowed, I hoed, I cooked early today. I baked fish and vegetables and made a great smoothie, and cleaned the kitchen. I got more things out of the garage that are still packed but I let the rest of the housework go.

We decided to go to the barn around 6 and spend the evening there and it was so worth it. Yes, I have barn and arena dirt all over me and it's the best. The barn where we are at is not fancy, it's laid back and there isn't any drama or snotty people or neurotic people either. It's small, functional and it has dirt, like a real barn should.

The folks that own it put the horses out on pasture, they mow the pasture once before doing so and they are practical and sensible about chores and horse care. I go in and the stalls aren't stuffed with sawdust they have what they need and are cleaned everyday, the buckets are emptied routinely but not fanatically, the horses are fed as they should be and they give them good quality hay.

No one is looking for something to pick apart, everyone does a little of this or that to help out but everyone looks out for each other. The arena is good, there's dust, and there's poop in it but no one is calling 911 about it. It's sufficient for a good ride and everyone knows the owners will work on it soon for the summer. Life goes on.

After riding we ate with them because they were grilling, they had just got done cleaning the cow barn and were done with the chores for the evening. Kylie rode a four wheeler, they have 4 of them and she went with their daughter way out in the fields.

Aubrey and Kylie had a good ride earlier and I rode Cody and Kylie rode him bareback after that. His back is filling out again and I have been studying saddles that are better for his short back. I tried a barrel racing saddle that is about 23 pounds and perfect for his back, it also sits further back on his withers giving him a fuller range of motion. Cody's chest is turning from flab to muscle also, Aubrey is got a round barrel to him and though his legs are long his body is nice and full and round.

I guess the real blessing here is the horses are living as they should, their environment is what pleases them, they are safe and are given the things they need to enjoy a good life. They  get out regularly, their stalls are safe and quiet, they aren't turned out in a big herd where they could get hurt, the family lives there, knows each horse as an individual and if anythings off they know it. It's the closest thing to having them at home except there's a nice family, and others who love just being around horses and it gives Kylie the opportunity to ride with other kids and I get to hang out with folks too.

No competition in trying to impress people with the latest training method, or equipment, just get on the horse and ride and have fun. No politics or people who pull practically in the doorway of the barn instead of the parking lot because it might be too far of a walk but they are "horse people" so they are the real outdoor type, (sarcasm).

When you've lived on a farm and you've had to walk, and get dirty and suffer all kinds of weather, done back braking work and had to make sure you have all the the things you need to run a farm well then having horses is really your lifestyle, it's not recreation or a pretend to be into horses to impress people, it's a reality every moment.

Boarders sometimes think because they pay rent that they own the place, just like renters of homes they can really take a lot for granted. When they are in their beds at night or out shopping, their horse is home with you. You see their horses more than they do, their horses depend on you for everything to survive. I can tell you I don't walk in and act like an a--hole, I don't own their barn and I don't have the right to demand more than what is agreed upon.

I treat the owners as knowledgeable people, I know they can't bend over backwards for every person and their obligation to me is the basics in our contract. Like me though, they feed more hay than in the agreement, the let my horses out more than is in the agreement and I don't ever take that for granted or complain about stupid stuff. Why? because I don't want entitlement, I want to be fair to them and I want to be treated fairly. It's not about what I can bully them into or that they don't have a life outside of my horse. I also know that my horse is not going to die if the stall isn't cleaned the first thing in the day or that he has a little hay in his bucket or that he doesn't have a ton of sawdust.

I do know that if he doesn't have enough quality hay and doesn't get out to pasture that he will not be healthy or happy. I also know that if barn owners are mean to the horses behind my back that he is going to suffer. But it is their home, where their family lives and I respect them and their farm. I would expect anyone entering my home to do the same, when someone comes in the barn and starts taking sawdust and hay or grain without asking it's like someone just walking into your house and going through your cupboards. The horses get what is paid for by the barn owner, outside of that, without asking it's just plain stealing. It's a matter of honor that people respect other people even if they are the barn owners.

Boarders also want more feed and better feed but they don't want to pay for it. A decent maintenance feed is about $10 a bag, senior is in the $20's and so on. I buy my own feed and my board is discounted. This is fair to me and to the barn owners. My horses get very high quality food, better than maintenance which is all a stable is legally obligated to feed and no more and there's a limit for the amount feed to be fair to them and their costs out of pocket. I don't try and steal from them by trying to insist my horses should get more grain and that they should buy a more expensive grain and give it to my horses without paying for the additional cost. It's not honest to do that to people who are trying to run a horse stable or fair.

I don't want to cheat people, I buy my own grain, and I decide how much they should feed my horses and there is no dishonesty. I pay for a stall, turnout, the use of the arena and hay, and their labor and watchful eyes. The board is very reasonable, their cost out of pocket is appropriate for the board and I am happy to provide the additional grain as they are my horses and well horses aren't cheap and I am not a cheat or a thief.

One last thing, I don't take their hay and I don't take their sawdust. I ask if for some reason I need some. A monthly board payment does not give me a license to steal, common courtesy and respect is owed to someone who if I am not there holds my horses lives in their hands.

There's dirt at our barn, it is good dirt, it's a place where there's life and peace and happiness. The animals aren't exploited, they are living a good life and they are loved. I love beautiful barn dirt and the smell of horses and fresh cut hay and especially when it doesn't come with another brand of B.S. 

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