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.
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.
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.
I think of his happiness at 7am when I look down at the temperature…not including windchill
0r when I’m out breaking the ice from the water trough because the heater can’t keep up.
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!
Oh yes, sleeping in the same building as livestock? At least their body heat usually keeps it above zero!