Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Stable on a Rainy NIght

Cold rain fell while I mucked tonight.   The horses munched fresh hay as I picked manure and soaked bedding from around and under their hooves, dumping it in the front loader of the tractor.

The stable at night.
Hudson impatiently let me know that their water trough was empty, so I ran the hose and filled the trough while I worked the pitchfork.

Periodically, Starlight, Dee, Stormkite and DeCato switched places, when the more dominant mares decided they wanted to get the best hay out of the other container.  Hudson is housed with them, but is separated from the others by a couple of stands of electric tape, because she is very bossy, and the others panic when she decides to move them around, causing all manner of minor injuries.   Now, second-in-command Starlight has assumed the role of boss mare among the four, but she isn’t as aggressive as Hudson, so I don’t see the scrapes that I did when Hudson was mixed in with them.

Hudson, not thrilled with her hay, wandered out into the dark paddock, allowing herself to get soaked by the cold rain.  I was done mucking, and I called her to come back, but she ignored me until I started handing out peppermint Tic Tacs; then she came back down, received her Tic Tac and also allowed me to rub her down with a dry towel.  Working with the others so often, I find I miss Hudson’s company, so it was nice to stand in the cool night and scrub her wet coat with the towel.

After a while, I moved over between Dee and Starlight, sitting on the edge of the hay feeder, while they took turns burying their faces up to the eyes in the hay.  Apparently, the best pieces were deep in the middle of the small round bale.

Horse faces in hay
Finally, I moved over to the low horses on the totem pole, Stormkite and DeCato, who were sharing a bale.  I stared out into the night, listening to the rain fall on the metal roof and the horses’ munching, noticing the way the rain blurred my neighbor’s barn light, off in the distance.  I wasn’t thinking, just looking and listening for a while, until my brain kicked back in, and I wondered if that kind of peaceful moment of not thinking, just sensing, is how horses spend much of their time, in a kind of quiet meditation without worry or thought.  

I don’t know, but I’m glad I got to spend that kind of time with them, tonight in the barn, listening to the cold, heavy rain and the contented munch of horses in hay.

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