Saturday, April 9, 2011
Since I've joined Equestrian Ink, I have enjoyed everyone's terrific horse stories. My blogs have been more writing-oriented basically because my horse experiences these days are not interesting, challenging nor exciting. As I got older and life got more complicated with kids, teaching and writing, my horse-life got simpler. Fortunately, I pared it down so it was doable. I have many other 'mom' friends who had to give up their horses when family, careers and sheer economics made owning horses impossible. This even happened to friends who promised themselves they "would never be without horses."
Since I take total care of the horses (neither of my kids caught the horse bug), 'doable' means I am down to two horses, one a babysitter and one that I ride as often as weather and time allow. Care is streamlined so their needs are totally met, yet there are no frills. In winter, Relish and Belle have a huge run-in shed (one whole side of a barn) with dry footing. Their hay is local amd fresh, compliments of our neighbor's field. They have a running stream that never freezes, grain, supplements, mineral salt and four acres to graze on winter grass. I feed twice a day, check them over carefully, and groom as needed. Riding is reduced to Relish and I ambling in a hayfield (groundhog holes marked)with some schooling (there is one flat area) when the ground isn't too hard or too soft. Memories of organized trail rides, showing, lessons and fox hunting are long past.
In the spring, Belle and Relish come back home (across the street) to our fields, which are divided so we can rotate them for grazing. Work is more intensive during these hot days. During the day, I'll start bringing them in the barn, which has big fans for fly control, so I have to muck stalls. Without a running stream, I need to keep a tub full and clean (I'm thinking of trying Linda Benson's nifty idea to capture rain water), put on fly spray and masks, mow pastures, spread manure and vigilantly keep an eye on Belle who like most ponies, overeats on the rich grass. Riding stays about the same--we have a few tiny trails but until the farmer cuts the hay in the field, I don't have many places to ride nor anyone nearby to ride with. Still, I have decided that this very pared down and uneventful horse life suits me just fine. I am blessed to be able to still have horses, keep them in great health, and love and enjoy them.
What about you? Has your horse life changed? Are there ways that you manage horses, job and family that might work for others?