Do You Sing to Your Horse?

I was visiting with my niece and heard a Bobwhite.  I said, “That’s a Bobwhite.” Niece: “How do you know?  I can’t see it.”  I told her I could hear the call, and my mom knew all kinds of bird sounds she taught me.  Mom could even emulate some of them.   While hanging out at the barn sometimes I’ll whistle a few times to see if I can call up a mockingbird.  (That is a whole other story about mockingbirds hanging out of my roof.)

Standing in the stall today, at the pasture, I can hear two different birds almost talking to each other.  I’ve never heard them before and wondered if mom would have known that it was a turkey or maybe some other wild animal with a strange call. 

The birds seem to all know the harsh winter has gone and they are out socializing with excitement.  With the warmer and sunny day today, I’m reminded how dirty the water trough, buckets, and grooming supplies have gotten.  Once, I took a part- time job at a professional barn.  We cleaned, sanitized, and scrubbed buckets every week.  Now with the one horse I have it seems I have fallen out of routine and realized it has been almost all winter since I’ve sanitized the buckets and trough.  I wash the trough all the time but who sanitizes regularly?  Not me. 

I’ve been around horses all my life, admittedly having always been so spoiled to riding and never to any of the real care horsemen put into their horses.  I look back now with the fondest of memories of all the people who made sure I had a horse ready to ride.  The professional barn was the best crash course in horse care.  Who knew everything needed to be sanitized?  I wonder what tips and tricks I have missed and what other horsemen are doing to care for a happy horse.  

My mare was a rescue mare.  Her future is to be the first hippotherapy horse for my Speech and Language clinic.  I’ve had her about 18 months, and she has grown in personality, confidence, and experience.  (Me too.)   I’ve let some clients pet on her but no riders yet.  We both have some growing to do.  

I need to feed first or she gets all concerned that I don’t see her stomping around and dashing by me in fear I’ll forget.   I put her at ease and feed her first.  I used bleach and liquid detergent on the water trough and all the buckets then scrub them with a greenie.  My old buckets are sure getting hard to clean.   

Next, I’ll work to clean the grooming tools.  I use a 5-gallon bucket to keep all the grooming stuff I use on her.   She gets groomed twice a day and bathed in the summer months.   I found one of these at one of those fabulous estate sales and got it just because it looked interesting.  I thought it may be useful to fluff the underside of horse blankets after washing and drying. 

Maybe it’s really a hair comb.  Patches (my mare) got it used on her today for the first time and I think she loved it.  Of course, I sing to her My Patches is so Pretty version of Soft Kitty Warm Kitty.  I was super gentle, and it got all that shedding hair off and floating around in big hunks on the ground (so satisfying).   Check out her mane and the new hair growth.  When she first came into my care,  that mane was barely a couple of inches long.  (Maybe we can talk about horse nutrition one day.)

After the tools have soaked in the 5-gallon bucket of bleach and detergent water, everything was rinsed and inspected for wear.  I let mine dry like this, but I’m thinking I may swipe a bucket grit guard my husband uses when washing the car so the brushes aren’t standing in water and the hairs being bent.  

She is an all you can eat hay kind of gal.  One of my most favorite things about Patches is she is curious (nosy) and wants to always know what I’m doing for her.  She thinks she is coy to eat out of the wheelbarrow while I clean and sing her a silly song about how she is so spoiled.  

This is the hay rack my husband built for me.  It does get dirty in the bottom over a few wet weeks.  

Maybe next time I can work on tack in the stall.  I keep it all hanging and off the dirt floor.  

I enjoy reading new ideas and learning how to keep my horse happy and healthy.  

I love caring for her and I selfishly get so much in return.  If you are caring, saddling, and paying for a child to enjoy a horse they will grow up and remember all your work and love.  I know I sure did.  Beyond riding, the grooming and caring for her is calming and rewarding.  I hope to be an old lady with the worn hat and boots who will not leave the barn, just like this beautiful diva.