Down & Dirty

Today’s Tip: Sometimes there are horse care tasks that are far less fun than riding, but they must take precedence because they ensure the health and comfort of our horses. Read on for what fun tasks I got to do today.

They drive me crazy. Those people who think that horses are glamorous. They either think that people who ride are snobby rich girls or  that horses are some kind of magical creatures that poop out pansies or something like that. Those people should have hung out with me today.

I was busy during the day, so I didn’t really get to it until about 5 p.m. (yea daylight savings time! I love having sun in the evening again!). Then I cleaned the barn, the paddock, and a mane.

If I could change one thing about my horse setup, it would be my barn. There are a number of flaws to it, but one is that it has a smooth concrete floor and the horses have to step up into the barn. That means that in the winter, especially when it has just snowed, the floor is pretty slippery for them. You know those days when the snow packs and balls up in their feet? Now imagine a horse on smooth concrete. It’s kind of like reverse ice skating. Not pretty. My solution is to toss wet shavings on the floor, especially where they step in, so that they freeze to the floor and provide a non-slip area to step onto. Pretty, no; functional, yes.

That said, when everything thaws and then I just have a layer of wet shavings on my barn floor, it’s neither pretty nor functional. So time to clean it up!

ManureThen I took my steel rake out to the paddock. Keeping paddocks clean of manure is admirable. I wish I kept up with it better than I do. However, it is seriously impossible in a Minnesota winter. Most of the time, it freezes to the ground basically the moment it hits the ice-coated ground. Poopsicles. Not clean-up-able. Which leaves Manure Mountain come spring. Short of heavy equipment, which I don’t own, my solution is to rake it out, spread it out, and hope it decomposes faster that way. Thankfully I don’t have so much that I don’t have “clean” places to feed hay!

My only hands-on time with the horses was attacking Pretty’s mane. Pretty has her name for a reason, and part of it is her Friesian-like hair. As beautiful as it can be, it can also be a complete disaster. That’s what it has been for the last few months. She rolls and so does her hair. I should have taken a picture so you could understand the horridness of it. Good news/bad news is that I only got about a third done with the nasty part of it. Bad, obviously, because I have lots more to do. Good because maybe I can grab a picture tomorrow!

Horse owners know what I’m talking about. They know that this “down and dirty” stuff is what it means to own a horse and for the serious ones, it’s also part of what we love. For those who think horses are glamorous – I got a mountain side home for you to come visit, right next to Manure Mountain!

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