On days such as today, when the sky is gray and the rain falls steadily from the clouds, I always feel a bit nostalgic.
When my Mommy brought me out to the paddock this morning, she stayed with me in the shelter for an hour or so – just talking to me, giving me face scratchies, and reminiscing about the old times. I was happy to stand with her and watch the rain as it turned the paddock into one big puddle.
While we hung out, my Mommy reminded me that I wanted to tell you about the day I moved to Cooper’s barn, which would be my second home in New York.
It’s a great day to reminisce.
Well, after living at my first barn in New York for a couple months, my Mommy began to realize that the woman who owned the place wasn’t exactly… a horsewoman. She ran everything on her own, changing schedule; as an example, we hardly ever ate dinner at the same time from one night to the next. Now, this might not sound like a big deal to some humans, but horses are very much creatures of habit. And although my Mommy goes through a lot of trouble to prepare me for anything – riding at different times of the day, moving to different barns, loud noises, scary tarps and bags, etc. – she also knows that horses can colic (or get a tummy ache) if their eating habits vary too much from one day to the next. Because of how horses are built, it’s best for us to keep eating all day long… and no, I’m not just saying that because I love to eat. It’s actually true! You see, in the wild, horses graze all day and most of the night; also, wild horses don’t have a safe, cozy stall to sleep in, so they only sleep very lightly, and only for about 20 minutes at a time. And they never lay down to sleep, because they have to be ready to run from a predator at any moment.
Now, although we are not wild horses, some things haven’t changed that much with evolution. Like, for instance, our digestive systems. We’re still supposed to eat mostly hay and forage (plants and grass), even though we also get grain twice a day (and some of us get supplements, too). And we’re supposed to have something to eat all day, even if it’s only a little bit of grass in the paddock to graze on.
Anyway, aside from the changing feed times, my Mommy began to notice that my stall would sometimes look very dirty when she and my Daddy arrived after work. Since they were paying the lady who owned the barn to clean my stall daily, this made my Mommy angry – more for the fact that she didn’t want me to be in a dirty stall, though. Of course, my Mommy or my Daddy would always clean my stall when they got there, even if the lady had already cleaned it earlier in the day, but they weren’t supposed to be the only ones cleaning it. Even I knew that.
More and more things like this kept happening until, one day, my Mommy decided to speak with the lady about it. My Mommy is a very nice person, and probably her best attribute is that she will do anything for me. So, when the lady answered my Mommy’s concerns by saying, “If you don’t like the way I run my barn, then you can just go and find a better one,” my Mommy did just that. She spoke to Cooper’s Mommy, who I came to know as my Auntie Joyce, and my Auntie Joyce did something amazing for us. Since her barn was full, she actually built another stall so I would have a place to live, where my Mommy could look after me and trust the people who took care of me when she wasn’t there.
I had to live in the mean lady’s barn for another few weeks, but as soon as Auntie Joyce said that the new stall was finished, my Mommy made arrangements for me to move to Cooper’s barn.
Well, when I say she “made arrangements,” that actually doesn’t mean what you probably think it means.
As it turned out, Cooper’s barn was only a couple streets away from the mean lady’s barn. Since the entire neighborhood was filled with people who had horses, it wasn’t uncommon to see horses being walked or ridden down the streets. So, my Mommy asked Auntie Joyce if any of her horses would mind accompanying me on a walk to her barn! When “moving day” came, it was raining – just like it is today – so my Mommy decided it would be safer for her to hand-walk me, instead of riding me. She and my Daddy came to the mean lady’s barn to pick up my tack trunk and all of my things, and then dropped them off at Cooper’s barn. When they came back to the mean lady’s barn, I saw that my Mommy was walking a horse named Cody – a sweet, somewhat older Quarter Horse who was very steady and trustworthy. My Daddy put my splint boots on my legs and my halter on my head, and off we went to walk through the neighborhood on our way to my new home!
We met a few different people along the way, all of whom wanted to stop and pet Cody and me. It was so cool to make so many new friends on such a short walk!
It only took us about twenty minutes to walk to my new barn. When I got there, I found out that my new stall was in between Cody and Cooper, my two newest friends! Auntie Joyce made everyone a special bran mash for dinner as a treat. My stall was big, and I had an “in-and-out” attached to it like I did at the mean lady’s barn. (For those of you who don’t know, an in-and-out is an individual paddock that’s attached to your stall, that you have free access to… unless your human decides to close the back door for any reason.) Here’s a photo that my Mommy took that very same day, after I had finished eating my warm, sloppy bran mash:
Yeah, it was a fun and exciting day – that’s for sure. I loved living at Cooper’s barn, especially because he and I became best friends. I really do miss him; I hope he found a new best friend, maybe a horse who is big and sweet, just like my newest best friend, Leo.
Speaking of Leo, I think I’ll head out into the rain and see what he’s up to; he’s in the little paddock right next to mine, and Isis is in the one on the other side of me.
I hope that y’all have a good day! Stay dry out there, and don’t let the mud suck off your shoes!