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City Girl Considers Horse Country

Two horses on a slab

Two horses on a slab

I was wondering this morning, as I was raking dung from around the legs of the three horses while they ate, “What kind of animal shits where it eats?”

The three in my care for these couple of months are certainly free to go anywhere, as long as it is within the parameters of the electric fence, which doesn’t work even when it’s turned on. The pasture, as it were, is not big, just an acre or so surrounding the small stable. The land is partially covered with munched down grass, interrupted by jutting rocks and embankments, and overtaken by shin-deep mud, pocked with hoof prints.

The horses eat, et cetera, here in the stable. There is probably a fair amount of dung out there in the muddy pasture, too.

To be fair to the horses, it’s more likely that horse #1 poops where #2 eats, #2 poops where #1 eats (because she’s the baby girl of the #1 mama) and #3 poops wherever she wants, which is usually off to the side a bit.

You know the saying, ‘poop happens.’ The corollary is the harder it rains outside, the more shit falls inside. The stable is a lean-to of about twelve by fifteen feet, not very big. Recently the shelter was divided down the middle, back to front, with a makeshift fence of scaffolding sections lashed together with frayed nylon rope. In the front, extending beyond the roof, there’s a small concrete slab, about four by six, that projects over the mud like a stage. To get from one side of the stable to the other, you have to cross this concrete threshold.

#1, Mama Cosquilla, eats on the closed left side; #3, Sasha, eats on the open right side; #2 Big Baby Girl Sabba’s feed hangs from the middle front. The juggling to arrange themselves at the proper place when they see me coming to feed them is one of the highlights of my day.

Overlapping Horses

Overlapping Horses

If they are out and about, they come briskly, sliding down the mud banks to meet me. If they are already in the stable, they gather on the concrete slab to show me in. To enter, I step up some rocks and duck under the fence to reach the concrete slab, which already has three horses poking around on it. So it’s all a matter of timing and talking and balancing food and shoving a horse around. I usually stay low and manage to get past them before they can get their noses into the bin.

It’s a crowded place, and even more so when it’s decorated with fresh piles of road apples. Which brings me back to dodging horses as I scrape and sling the dark do-do from the dirt floor. If it weren’t raining and if the horses were out in open land with sufficient grass, they’d simply eat and shit their way through the day, moving on to greener grass and bigger clumps, nevermind the scattered dumps. I wouldn’t be shoveling. That’s what kind of animals these are – meant to eat and all the rest on the open range.

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