Backyard Horses

It’s been over a month now since I moved out to the farm full time. My days are longer, I get up earlier, and I perpetually have evidence of horse somewhere on my person, but… I’m loving it.

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come closer, doge

Mostly because my days are bookended by horses. I get up, I feed the horses, I smooch Henry while he’s eating (boy does he hate that), then turn everyone out (always reminding Quinnie that she’s in charge, and telling everyone else to make good choices) before I get ready for work. Then after work I come home, change, and back out to the barn I go. Granted, there is definitely more work involved, I’m not just hanging around petting ponies. Cleaning stalls, driving the spreader, adding shavings, dumping and refilling water buckets and troughs, throwing hay, hauling feed, stopping the idiot babies from chewing on the fucking fences (I am on my last shred of sanity with that one), etc etc. There’s definitely always something to do.

He helps with the water troughs at least

Spending more time with my horses doing simple care tasks as opposed to just showing up every day and riding, like I did when they were boarded, has shifted the focus of our relationship a bit. I get to see every little detail of their care, right on down to how many times they poop at night and where. How much hay they eat, how much water they drink, their general attitude… all of that is on me. And since they’re right there in the backyard, and I’m the one in control of it, I can tweak whatever I want, whenever I want, whenever it’s needed. It brings the relationship I have with them up to a whole new level. I’m not just the rider or the bill-payer… I’m everything.

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It kind of makes the riding part feel a little bit less important, or at least not so much the center of my world. I have a lot more to do than just that. and my time with them can be more… relaxed. Less regimented. The whole dynamic is different, like I feel more at liberty to just enjoy them and less pressure to get something out of them. I really love being able to see them every single day, multiple times a day, and know everything about their lives. I love being able to look out the window and see what they’re up to, or walk outside and scratch their withers, or take way too many videos of them doing things that amuse me. Yeah I’m probably a stalker. I even pull up the cameras several times a day when I’m at work so I can see what they’re doing and make sure everything looks okay.

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me trying to carry the new mounting block out to the ring was VERY EXCITING and I was stopped for a thorough inspection/some licking of said block before being allowed to proceed

Even on days like yesterday, where I had to get up at 4 to clean their stalls before work, since it was super disgusting outside and they needed to stay in, it didn’t feel like a chore. Sure, they all completely trashed their stalls during the day anyway, making a disastrous mess (JB dug a hole. Dug. A. Frickin. Hole.). And sure, when I got home and turned them out for a few hours they ran around like complete and total morons almost the whole time. And yes, when it was time to come in for dinner, Presto and JB suddenly couldn’t remember how to find the gate to get from the back field to the front one, so I had to run out there in the semi-darkness and lead them to it using my jacket wrapped around Presto’s neck while also fending off “OH GOOD YOU CAME TO PLAY WITH US” attacks from JB and watching Henry gallop and scream up and down the adjacent fence line. Some days it’s a circus.

Yet, even those days are great days.

But my absolute favorite thing, my very favorite part of every day, is night check. Before bed I always go back out and check on everyone, top off waters, dole out more hay, put on blankets if necessary, and give everyone a goodnight cookie. I give Presto a few smooches on the nose (while exclaiming “this cookie will cost you two nose smoochies, pay up!” like a complete and utter psychopath), and Henry manages to swindle at least 2 cookies out of me, plus a few minutes worth of wither scratches. I stand there, just enjoying the company of my best boys, and everything just feels right in the world. I’m sleeping less and working more, and I show up for morning meetings with hay or shavings or horse boogers on me more often than not, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt so content or so connected to my boys.ย  There’s something absolutely priceless about that.

18 thoughts on “Backyard Horses

  1. Amen, Sista! Even when I get too old to ride (another decade or so from now, I hope) I think having horses to care for will be a source of contentment.

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  2. 1. Mounting blocks make THE BEST toys,
    2. Wood fences are delicious, and
    3. Nobody ever makes good life choices. Unfortunately.

    100% worth it tho!

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    1. I concur. Absolutely hands-down my best horse experience was the 18 months we bought land; built a barn I designed for hot humid SE Georgia; fenced paddocks; and then got up at “O-dark thirty” to drive to it, feed the horses, turn out, and go to play with the humans at work; at night, repeat. Alas my hubby is not a farm person, so it got sold and horses back to a boarding barn…but over the top sweet time of my life…

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  3. Boarding certainly has its perks, but you have so many more experiences with your horses at home than you would at the boarding stable. My favorite time is night feed, especially when it’s cold and snowing. After the grain is eaten and there’s no more banging buckets, it’s so peaceful to just stand there and listen to everyone munching quietly on their hay.

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  4. I love having my horses at home. And nothing makes me feel better then super bedding down their stalls when the weather is icky. I always tell mine to be good and drink lots of water before I leave in the morning, and I get all the “horsey smell” sniffs that I require.

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  5. Let’s all not miss that Amanda had to go buy a new ginormous mounting block because Presto is clearly going to surpass 17hh. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    But I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said! I’ve always had my horses at home, the only exception has been when they have been in training for a few months and when I was in school, and I can’t imagine it any other way. I can see inside my barn from my bedroom (if it’s light out or the lights are on) and spy on my horses. It definitely changes your relationship with your horse to have full charge of their care!

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  6. “like I feel more at liberty to just enjoy them and less pressure to get something out of them.”

    This in a nutshell. This is what I love about having the horses at home, even if it’s far more work and way less riding than I’d like sometimes.

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  7. Yup, all that you said is 100% correct. Many days when I’ve had too much, it’s the best thing to feed, sit down, and just sit with them when it’s peaceful listening to them munch on dinner. I’m glad this is really working out for you ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. I felt this same way after finally bringing mine home. Before it was stop by the barn and ride. Maybe go once a month to groom only but basically horses were a thing to do. Now though they fill up so much of my day and life that the riding isnโ€™t so important

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  9. Raplast …. raplast will be your friend for the fence chewing babies. While Dublin was on confined space rest ALL of my horses decided they were social cribbers. Used up two bottles in one setting, mostly spraying just the chewed on spots and the smell is so potent several of them wouldnโ€™t even get close to the fence let alone chew on it ๐Ÿ˜‚ so far never had to spray it again but no one is a certified cribber either

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  10. Thanks for putting into words exactly how I feel having my horses at home. It’s funny that you used the term “bookends of my day,” because I used the exact same phrase when talking about it to a coworker a few years ago. Every day begins and ends with my girls, and I be lost without that mooring.

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  11. Night check is my favorite too. It’s not uncommon to find me sitting in the barn scrolling social media, just enjoying the munching sounds sometimes. Having the horses living with you is really wonderful, despite all the extra work. I won’t pretend I’m not appreciating my temporary hiatus right now, I definitely am! But still, I look forward to the kids coming home in the spring.

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