Friday, December 11, 2009

Horse Care

Though none of my regular readers need to know this, because they already own horses, this post is more for those who may be contemplating horse ownership in the future.

Currently, there are many horses who need homes around the world. However, they don't need just any home. They need good homes where they will be fed on time, provided clean water, have their hooves trimmed every 6 to 10 weeks, wormed regularly, given their immunizations, get trained, groomed, and last but not least, be loved.

It's a lot of work, especially when you are sick, the temperatures are below freezing, and you have no one to help you. I've had a cold for the past several days. All I want to do is sleep, but with owning horses, that's not possible. I did take a couple of days off from work, telling my boss that I planned to take some NyQuil and sleep all day so that he wouldn't find some reason to call me. However, I quickly discovered that we had no NyQuil and it is very difficult to sleep when you have a cold.

Not only that, but horses break fences, so I was out there in the snow swinging my hammer when I should have been in bed. I also had to go out three times to feed the horses, attempt to break the ice in the water troughs, and carry buckets of hot water to the barn. I had to keep their stalls clean and dry to prevent thrush and stone bruises from stepping on frozen turds.

After a while, I got so tired of removing and putting on my snow boots that I just laid in bed with them on during intervals of rest. I also needed to do laundry and cook some meals, but skipped those chores since I was sick. Dirty clothes can always wait and men can fix their own food, but the creatures we choose to care for cannot feed, water, and clean up after themselves if we keep them locked up in stalls and pens. We have to keep moving for them. Taking a day off from horse care is not an option.

So, if you are in the market to own a horse, I suggest you make sure that you have someone else in your life who enjoys horses too, and who will care for them when you can't. I'm fortunate most of the time, because my family members do help out. However, just because I come down with a cold does not mean that my son will stop going to school and my husband will stay home from work. I have to stay home by myself and manage the best I can, which means donning cap, coat, gloves, snow boots, and venturing out into the snow drifts to care for someone other than myself, head aching, eyes, ears and throat burning, lungs coughing, and nose dripping all along the way.

13 comments:

Maery Rose said...

Yup. You've covered it well.

MysticFish said...

That is the truth! I had a pretty bad flu not too far back this winter and my husband is not supportive of my horse as much. He surprised me by driving me to the barn (I am doing self-care until our barn is done), and actually cleaned my stall for me. I realized that day how lucky I really was. Most of the time those of us who have horses, are the ones who do ALL the work, rain or snow, night and day, sick or well, and whether or not you "time" too. I work with a couple of rescues around here occasionally and have seen first hand what happens when well meaning people get horses and then realize how much more work, money and responsibility it is. More than they usually can handle, so the horses end up paying the price. Thank you for this wonderful reminder! Stay warm, and get better!

fernvalley01 said...

I hear ya girl! i was out with pnemonia a few years ago , hubby working away. Thought climbing the hill from feeding the mares was actually going to kill me! Brother in law finally saw the light and came over to help.

Reddunappy said...

Oh I hear you girl!
We have been hauling water to the barn because the water froze in the barn. Finally found a short enough pipe heat tape and put it on last night, water this morning yeah!!! Taking 10-15 minutes to dress just to go out and do 15-20 min of chores.
Someone told me and a freind on facebook the other day "you girls must really love your horses" non horsey people have no idea! do they!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I just wanted to add that despite having a cold and not being able to smell much, I could tell that the whole house reeked. I checked under the dog's tail, and sure enough, he's got an entire bowel movement stuck to the hair on his butt. So, now I get to drag him outside and shave it off while it's snowing. Us animal lovers just don't get any breaks. I'd swear that it's easier to raise kids. At least you can do that indoors. I'd rather be changing a dirty diaper in a bedroom than shaving a dog's butt in a snowstorm.

Grey Horse Matters said...

A lot of peopel really don't realize what it takes to own and care for horses. I think you've covered it pretty well here. So for anyone with stars in their eyes or romantic notions of riding off into the sunset everyday, it's a good post to get one thinking that it's not all lollipops and roses.
Feel better.

Sydney said...

I know how you feel. A few weeks ago I had food poisoning and felt like death at 7 am when it came time to feed the horses. I yacked my guts out but went out to feed the horses anyway.

Breathe said...

This is one reason I wonder f I really want to buy land and have my horses live with me. It's nice to know all those things are taken care of...

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

You nailed it. Fortunately, we don't get the snow that you have now, but it's still cold at 6:15 in the morning. Our biggest problem is wind when it's cold. However, we're still blessed with our horses and, being 64 years old, it's good for me to have a reason to get out several times a day to feed or clean up manure. Keeps the blood flowing.

Dan

Mrs Mom said...

Amen NuzMuz. Will be keeping you in our prayers over in our little corner, hoping you get better and quick.

This was an excellent post, with lots of insight. Advice well worth heeding!

Katharine Swan said...

Yep, horse ownership IS a lot of work, and anyone considering becoming horse owners needs to know that. However, don't scare them off with only the bad stories -- LOL! Even if there are days like the one you just had, owning and caring for a horse is still one of the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life.

Katharine Swan said...

P.S. I hope you feel better soon!

sue said...

this post was SO WELL DONE!!! it shold be printed in a public forum... I should show it to my neighbor who thought he was interested in a pair of two year old drafts, because he was interested in sleigh riding.... he sort of forgot about the day to day until we invited him over.... I think he has changed his mind...