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Sunday hubby and I went out to his cousin Mary Lee's farm as a Father's Day treat for him. I knew that she had horses (Quarterhorses, in case you're interested in breed) and assumed she probably had 6-8. Make that 19! Plus 2 that she boards! 21 horses on 28 acres that are mostly divided into several pasture areas, a couple nice sized paddocks for her 2 stallions and various smaller pasture areas. It was a hot but breezy day and I managed to pick up a sunburned neck, back and shoulders but for some reason, none on my legs. The breeze made it feel cooler and I didn't even notice that I was getting burned. Of course that was more due to the horses than the breeze. I haven't been around horses in ages except for a few minutes last summer when I got a chance to pet a few that were in their stalls at one of the Boy Scout camp outs.

The first horse we spotted - he was impossible to miss - was an absolutely gorgous paint (light brown and white) stallion in one of the paddocks. He was grazing on the abundant clover and favoring one of his legs. He had stepped in a hole and strained some tendons but should be fine with plenty of rest. We then wandered around looking at her other stallion, a big... hmmm, not sure if he's a bay or a chestnut. I've really forgotten most of what I knew about color terminology for horses! Also a beautiful horse. Both of them are old fellows, around 20 years old. Next we took a look at her two old mares, one of around 18 or so, the other older. The younger of the two is her beginners horse when she gives riding lessons since she's still healty and strong enough for gentle riding by younger kids and is very calm and mild mannered. The older girl is permanently out to pasture since she's too frail for riding. She's getting to live out the rest of her life in peace in lush pasture areas. Then we went to look at the youngest of her horses, a yearling colt (black and white paint) in the barn. Ummm... how to say this tactfully... hubby and I were absolutely appalled by the condition of the box stall he was in. It looked like it hadn't had a thorough cleaning in months and that when it had been cleaned, they had simply moved the manure to the outside of the stall. Mary Lee loves her horses and works 2 jobs, both requiring a long commute, to support them. She has virtually no help on the farm with chores except for a couple girls who do a bit of work in exchange for getting free lessons. She is in major need of help on the farm and Scot and I are hoping that we can provide some of this help. He has already told Mary Lee (posting a message on facebook) that our first priority is to get the stalls completely cleaned out (not something I can really help with, unfortunately) and get the colt cleaned up.Her reply was agreement and also noted that (having seen how appalled we were at the colt's filthy stall) she had already moved him out of the barn into one of the available pasture areas and he was much happier. No surprize there!

Next we took a look at her tack room and again saw a major need for work. I may not be able to shovel shit but I can clean tack. Just give me some saddle soap, soft rags and a shady place to work and I'll happily clean 'em up. (though hubby will have to help with moving the saddles!) Yeah, she really, really needs help and for a chance to be around horses, and for hubby to be able to ride again, we're not only willing but eager to help out.

Then, after turning off the electricty to the fences, we wandered up to the back pastures. (There were 3 huge pasture areas that we could see and possibly another one or two that we couldn't see from where we were. The multiple pastures allows her to prevent overgrazing and keeps the clover coming back in nicely) The horses were at the back of 2 of the pastures by the tree line but she was able to call them over (half of them, actually since half were in the second pasture). I had been a bit concerned that since I haven't been around horses in so long, I might be a bit timid around them, especially since we're talking about a fair number of horses running free which is not something you encounter during trail rides at riding stable, which is where most of my experience with horses comes from. Most of the horses just thundered through the gate to the far side of the pasure we were in but 3 or 4 hung around getting attention including a blue eyed black and white paint mare (no, blue eyes aren't really desireable in horses but they were gorgous!) who was very curious and had to be convinced that she really didn't need to nibble my shirt/shorts etc. All of the horses were beautiful, healthy looking and impressive. I'd forgotten how big quarterhorses can get! I was also pleased to find that I wasn't the least bit timid around them nor do I seem to be allergic to them. My allergies didn't flare up at all despite all the petting (and gently shoving away!) I did. After just hanging out with the horses for a bit, we went and got some corn and carrots to feed them and generally had a wonderful time. 

We're planning on going back out and camping there for the 4th (our neighborhood goes so crazy with legal and illegal fireworks that you can't even see across the street for all the smoke!) which I'm looking forward to with some slight reservations. The main reservation being that there is absolutely no shade near the house which is where we'll have our tent set up but hopefully somewhere in the mess in our garage is the shade structure that my daughter bought for us ages ago and if not, that we'll be able to pick up a new one... preferably a screen house type since there are biting flies which are a literal pain! We're also hoping that we can afford the gas to go out at least once a week to help out with the work that Mary Lee can't keep up with on her own. 

Other stuff:
Hubby announced last night that we have "barn cats". ("garage cats" actually!) He says that the 3 kittens from the stray cat's last litter seem to have taken up residence in our garage. Fine by me, especially if they can keep the mouse population down. Mice may be adorable to look at but they do carry diseases and fleas which we do not need in our house! 

I finally got around to doing the last of the updates this laptop needs. Now I shouldn't be getting nag screens from the Dell Support Center to upgrade. (and, yes, this time it actually did find the update which it had told me yesterday didn't exist!) I really need to learn how to reformat my hard drive so I can get back on my own computer! 

I could probably come up with more to post but this is already a long one so I'll stop for now.

 

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sheianna

August 2011

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