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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for March 22nd, 2022

Spring Cleaned

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It is with much pride I can report the paddocks are now cleaned of the winter’s-worth accumulation of manure. It only took two and a half wheelbarrow loads. Loads that I will point out were much heavier than usual due to the highly saturated wetness of the droppings.

On top of that, movement of the multiple heavy loads was made particularly more difficult by the soft, slippery, muddy paddock surface highly pockmarked by water-filled hoof divots.

Therefore, my pride over the ignoble accomplishment. It was no easy feat, but that contributes all the more reward to having this spring cleaning job done.

I started while the horses were eating and when Mia finished she came out to join me. For some reason, it is not uncommon for one or another of the horses to take an interest in the wheelbarrow when I am plying my collection skills. It was as if Mia was standing guard while I ventured off in every direction to pick up piles.

It wasn’t until I decided to pause and take a picture of her that I noticed the other three horses had gathered at the waterer in what looked like a meeting of their minds. None of the three showed any urge to drink. They just stood in place for the longest time, facing each other.

As I resumed my spring paddock cleaning, I could hear Mia making contact with the wheelbarrow with her legs. One might assume she was rubbing against the object to scratch an itch except that there was little in the way of rubbing. She would push up against it and then stand stationary until deciding to adjust her position a little and push against it again and just stand.

Eventually, since there was a lot of old, wet manure and I work rather slowly, Mia began to get sleepy.

The ambient outdoor sounds and my methodical plodding/squishing to and fro, frequently tapping the fork against the edge of the wheelbarrow to release the messes I picked up, became a white noise that seemed to lull the horses into drowsiness. The other three were still standing together at the waterer, looking equally sleepy.

My stopping to take another picture of Mia as her eyes drooped broke the spell. By not continuing to walk around and periodically tap the wheelbarrow, I changed the routine sound of their white noise. Mia noticed instantly.

It was as if she was looking at me to convey, “Why did you stop and become quiet?”

Maybe she didn’t want me taking a picture of her muddy appearance with her eyes half-closed.

Yesterday afternoon, when I was cleaning up the day’s new manure, I discovered the next challenge for the wet weeks ahead will be differentiating between new manure piles and mud pushed up by a heavy hoof.

Keeping paddocks pristine is definitely an imperfect science.

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