It was a busy week at the barn for me! With Spring coming on strong some facility maintenance is needed, so I started setting out hoses and working on the community garden that is nestled between the horse pens. It’s kind of overrun with violas (but aren’t they pretty?) so I was digging those up and transplanting them to pots, and I also took some home for myself. I love to garden, so this chore wasn’t a chore at all for me. I also planted daylily’s and iris, and I cleared up the onion bed a bit. There’s a rock pile at the end of the garden that needs to be moved out, but before I do that I’m going to use as many of them as I can to outline garden beds. Where I live there are a lot of rocks, so I’ve gotten good at learning to move them as few times as possible!
On the horse front, I learned the proper way to walk a horse this week. I took Spike back to his pen after Debora trimmed a sore hoof, and Angelica showed me how it’s done. You definitely don’t walk a horse like you walk a dog, which is the kind of walking experience I have. :-) You stand to their left at the head, hold the lead with your right hand two feet away from their head, palm down. Your left hand holds the rest of the lead. You walk firmly and don’t look back at the horse. You face the direction you want to go. Angelica pointed out that if you turn and look at the horse, he’ll stop because he figures you’re about to tell him to do something different. That took some getting used to but it’s a good tip. I think I’ll try that with my dogs.
I also got some more practice taking off and putting on the rope harness. We got Spike to his pen and he stood patiently while I did that. It’s really good for me to practice these simple horsemanship things so that I can be less awkward when I’m around them. I walked Spike again the next time I was there, this time taking him in a few circles around his pen to get the blood moving in his sore hoof. He tends to not walk around a lot because of the soreness but he needs the exercise. When we stopped I was giving him some pets and he’s so sweet, he let me put my arm up under his neck and hug his head. Those are the moments that make the little girl in me who dreamed of having a horse just giggle with happiness.
I managed this week to get pictures of all the horses and donkeys put up on a new page called Meet the Herd, so be sure to check that out.
Laura Weise is a Wings volunteer who lives in Stevensville and will be bringing you stories of life at the barn.