Morning in the barn is a favorite time for me. I love the sounds and the interaction with the animals. Hoping to find a way to share my blessings with you, I took photos and recorded sound this morning. If you’d like to listen to the birds while you read this post, just click on the sound bite.
Most of the horses spend their time outside unless the weather’s bad. Two usually come in at night—Reno my mustang, and Lewis. Reno has his own room for two reasons, and we’re alike in both cases. Reno is always dieting. He loves food, always cleans his bucket and is usually dealing with an expanding girth. Twenty-four hours on pasture could make him sick, especially with the rich spring grass. And just like me, Reno needs “alone time.” Believe it or not, he gets crabby when he’s with the other horses too much. He enjoys his quiet time.
Lewis, the other horse who lives in at night, is a three year old stallion. I prefer to sleep rather than worry if he’s gotten loose and is visiting the girls.
But we had rain yesterday and last night. Chippy, our thirty-four year old pony was chilled and since I’m not about to give warmth to a few and not the rest, into the barn they all came. We have seventeen stalls on seventeen acres and nine horses. Finding “rooms” for everyone should be simple.
I grab my insulated vest and strap on my Merrils, head out the door and the morning communication begins.
It’s important to watch my feet as I cross the lawn because Princess, the calico barn cat, has assigned herself the job of herding me to the cat food. Between walking back and forth at my feet and meowing, she’s determined to make sure I get the point. She’s joined by her black buddy, Twenty-Four, who earned his name by having six toes on all four feet. A few minutes pass and Hershey, our blind cat, makes her way from one of the other buildings to join us for breakfast.
Meanwhile, Reno is communicating his needs. When he was young I taught him to hold up his right hoof when I ask “Hungry?”. When he does, he gets food. Reno uses this signal as a means of communication for a lot of things, sometimes even holding it up while I put his saddle on. I’m pretty sure he’s telling me he’d rather eat than go to work. When I enter the barn this morning Reno’s ready to start the conversation and he’s holding his right leg up. By the time I’ve fed the cats he’s even tried the left leg. His frustrated expression and curled neck almost scream, “I’m speaking here. Can’t you get the point?”
If the animals had human words the barn would sound like happy hour at a local bar as I prepare their breakfast. The six horses on this side of the barn have a variety of stares, whinnies, and pawing methods designed to get my attention.
Remember I said finding them all rooms should be simple? Except for Capi.
Our barn is very old. It has eight stalls on one side, a hallway to an indoor arena and nine stalls in a barn on the other side. Originally Capi had his own rather large stall, until one night he got cast and took out the wall. A horse gets cast when they lay down, roll over and get their feet stuck against the wall and can’t get up. Since then I’ve tried several arrangements for him and have settled on barricading parts of the aisle and allowing him to roam free. He thinks this is terrific. He gets to visit all of his friends in different parts of the barn and is center stage for feeding. He also loves to turn the lights on in the middle of the night.
When I take Capi’s food to his bucket a screeching demand is issued from the other side of the barn. The Arabian, Rob Moniet, wants his breakfast.
By the time I finish feeding the two horses on the other side of the barn, Capi is waving his rubber pan. I turn him into the pasture and continue to turn-out the horses that are finished eating.
I take Alisha’s horse, Bow, second to last because the minute he leaves the barn her other horse, Jackson, will quit eating and start to worry. (No comments about Bow Jackson, please!) Since Bow expects me to stay out of his way rather than the other way around, I’ve renamed him Mr. Spatial Awareness. As soon as I let him loose he gives Alisha the special gift you can see in his picture.
That leaves Lewis, whose real name is Dawn Treader because he was born at the crack of dawn. His barn name “Lewis” comes from C.S. At the moment we have different goals. Lewis is bent
on biting the halter and chewing on my expensive three dollar a foot lead rope, while I’m more concerned about keeping his hooves on the ground so I don’t end up with a headache. We have success, and my rope isn’t irreparably damaged.
Everyone’s happy to munch the new spring grass. I head into the house to make breakfast pondering God’s blessings and the time He’s given me in the morning to do something I love. I hope I’ve been able to share my enjoyment of morning in the barn with you.
Saying Goodbye to Chippy
Out of the Mouth of Babes
Oh… Christmas Tree—of Every Shape and Size
God’s Reckless Love at 2018 ACFW Conference in Nashville
Writer, What Size is This Horse?
Riding, Teaching, Writing, & Critique
Confessions From an Organic Writing Life
Plans, Planning, and Change
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