Body heat and other winter thoughts

I can understand why medieval farmers slept with their animals – in the same building I mean…a thought that occurred to me quite often as I’ve been mucking out the stalls, hauling water and stuffing hay bags this winter. Let me tell you just how I got to be a stable hand.


March 2nd, 2016

You may recall last fall I posted about how I had moved my boy Romy because our stable had become a co-operative venture and I was reluctant to take on barn work for 14 horses. Well if ever a non verbal creature could communicate his annoyance, Romy certainly left no doubt he was unhappy at the new place. He refused to be led, pushed me around, wouldn’t stand still to be groomed, was challenging when I was in the saddle and was just generally uncooperative and need it be added with a 1,000 lb animal – a little intimidating. Everyone in the new barn had advice usually involving showing him who’s boss with a crop or a nose chain – not my style at all.

Romy's hay bag

Stuffed with pride by your truly

Thinking about how happy he had been with his old herd I revised my opinion of manual labour and back we went to the co-operative barn. Most of the hard work is in winter and how long can that last? Romy immediately fell back in with his old crowd, including some nice mares, and his mellow old self returned.

Winter Romy

Happy again!

I think of his happiness at 7am when I look down at the temperature…not including windchill

Dashboard 1

0r when I’m out breaking the ice from the water trough because the heater can’t keep up.

Frozen trough

Keeping the water open

I think of him as I slip and slide up the manure pile with yet another wheelbarrow  full. Did I expect to be doing this in my retirement from a job that never involved physical labour? Not exactly but he’s happy and it’s cheaper and more fun than the gym and Ivy gets to come along too!

snowy Ivy

Oh yes, sleeping in the same building as livestock? At least their body heat usually keeps it above zero!

This entry was posted in Horses, Humour, Life, Thoughts, Winter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Body heat and other winter thoughts

  1. Love the photo of Romy and i can see you why you love him.

  2. Sue Slaght says:

    I must say that Romy appears to have a smile on his face. Amazing how he could communicate his displeasure. It does look like a lot of work but you obvious love for Romy, not to mention getting the workout and saving money, seems to make up for it. As to the slip in the manure pile well perhaps that one could do without. 🙂

  3. restlessjo says:

    Touching devotion! 🙂 But they didn’t sound quite ‘your’ (plural 🙂 ) style at the new place. What a slender, fit creature you will be come Spring 🙂 Good for you!

  4. Forgot to say “Hi” to cute little Ivy. ❤

  5. I love your dedication. Romy is really handsome and I’m so glad he’s happy again. Do take care as you slip and slide up the manure pile. I can’t imagine myself doing that, but you’re obviously a better woman than I am. 😀

  6. Sheryl says:

    I’m impressed. It sounds like a lot of work–but definitely worth it. This post also takes me back to my farm roots. Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate the value of farm labor–and agree that it can just as rigorous as any gym workout.

    • It’s so true about the workout and I do have a whole new appreciation of what actual farm life must be like. There are many positive things about the co-operative approach of sharing the burden😊

  7. Wow! That’s what I call diligent. Good on you too .. He’s happy, you are fitter and happy too I bet! What a lovely post 😊

  8. icelandpenny says:

    “I think of his happiness …” This is a true morality play. Good for you.

  9. That is quite some work you got yourself into. At least you have company and hopefully have found yourself a friend. But stay warm!

  10. pommepal says:

    Lucky, lucky Romy, he certainly made his displeasure known, and you listened. I don’t think the other people were very good horse people suggesting those harsh treatments. Spring will soon arrive and think how fit you will be, and better off without having to pay gym fees.

  11. margaret21 says:

    You must be one of the healthiest pensioners on the planet. I never suspected you were ‘a pensioner’ in any case. You sound much too young and healthy!

  12. Nancy says:

    How sweet of you! And … stay warm my friend!

  13. agnesashe says:

    When people bleat on about ‘lurve’ and making small sacrifices for those they care about – your story should be told. Rearranging your life, time, physical effort and freezing temperatures to ensure your horse has a better existence is real love in action. Effort beyond duty – you are an inspiration. Lucky Romy. And kisses to the beautiful Ivy. 😌

    • What a lovely comment – thank you. Ivy seems to be enjoying her new ‘farm dog’ outings. Although she doesn’t necessarily enjoy the more frequent grooming she hasn’t put the two together!

  14. How very noble you are! I am glad Romy is back with his friends.

    • Thanks! Noble isn’t the first word that springs to mind when dealing with manure so I really appreciate the thought😊 I have received happiness back too, so it does work both ways.

  15. vsperry says:

    you get points for this…don’t know exactly what you win but you get the points anyway.

  16. Gallivanta says:

    What can I say…..happy horse, happy person. So glad Romy is feeling okay now.

    • I think that sums it up nicely. There are so many schools of thought about how to get along with your horse and discovering that there are subtle (and not so subtle) signals we give each other has changed my outlook in other aspects of my life…nice to hear from you.

  17. Herman Rosenfeld says:

    Great story!


  18. Lavinia Ross says:

    Old Romy is happy again with his old friends, you and Ivy are getting good exercise, and winter won’t be here much longer. Easy for me to say with the mild winters we have in this part of Oregon. You are a very, very good person to take Romy’s feelings into account.

    • We live in a snow belt with Lake Simcoe, Huron and Georgian Bay nearby so it’s a fact of life I’m afraid. But a trail ride through a winter wonderland can go a long way to making up for cold early mornings😊. I get joy along with the work so lucky me.

  19. What you do never ceases to amaze me.

  20. Gunta says:

    Your Ivy looks like a slightly larger version of my pup. She only weighs about 10 lbs, but she can sure make her feelings known, too! Had to chuckle at your sacrifice. It’s probably better for you, too! Though you still have my sympathy at having to do all that in the freezing cold.

    • Yes they have no trouble communicating as long as you’re willing to listen. Ivy is a mid size poodle although with her non traditional cut, it’s sometimes hard to tell. I don’t get a lot of sympathy from the locals about the weather – ‘no such thing as too cold’, they say, ‘just not properly dressed’😉

      • Gunta says:

        My pup is in the toy poodle category and she also has the ‘puppy cut’ which I’m gathering is the same as your non traditional. I really dislike the cut they give the poodles at the dog shows. They look way too ridiculous.

      • I agree but we go quite short all over in the summer because as cold as it is here in the winter, the summer is very hot.

      • Gunta says:

        I’ve heard differing opinions on short for summer. Both our pups are black, so I’ve often gone short (even tho our summers don’t get excessively hot) but then her hair/fur gets really hot in the sun. I’ve been told by “some” that having it longer provides insulation from the heat of the sun. It’s hard to tell who to believe. Probably just best to keep them out of the sun when it’s truly hot.

  21. mommermom says:

    Talk about true love…. What we won’t do for our animals. They do seem to have the ability to share their thoughts and feelings as well love their love. For the amount of joy that they bring into our lives we are usually willing to go above and beyond. Sounds like you’ve made an enormous sacrifice for your sweet Romy. Great way to look at it, cheaper and more rewarding than the gym!! Also during the below freezing temperatures… all I can say is that is love and dedication! 😊.

  22. joannesisco says:

    Animals are so wonderful at making their dissatifaction known. I thought a 20 lb cat was a challenge. Whoa – you have your hands full with a highly opinionated 1000 lb horse!!
    Romy’s blissful return back to his former stable is hilarious 😀

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