March 2nd- Barn Chores How does one spend their first day “off” in forever? Why not a new adventure? Let’s go see what all this barn chore fuss is about! Task one of pursuing said adventure, getting up early. I signed up for “set-up”. This way I avoided having to be at the barn for 7 am breakfast and am told set- up has the least amount of human-horse contact. Yeah, most suitable for me (and Coach agrees). Set-up starts at 9 am. Hey, I am willing to try anything once. And yes, 9:08 a.m. is early. Never mind the damn bird or worm or any combination thereof. Today, I am a lover of horses!!! (Gulp… have you seen their chompers?..or their swift ability to kick anything clear that is in their way… I hear being run over is actually a concern. Look left, look right, look left and hold your breath. Eeks). My Gals LOVE “The Barn”. The barn that has won my girls hearts is Adda’Go Equestrian; founded, owned and operated by Amanda Dunklin-Hamilton. A Mom of three who runs lessons, training and boards horses. I had to see for myself what this girls day really entailed as an entreprenuer, coach, trainer and mom.
How hard can it be? … I packed the Dogs; MoMoney and George up and we arrived 6 minutes late for this new adventure- not a good start. I have seen this girl yell, at humans and horses. I also know she is a foodie! Luckily, I brought Coach Amanda scallop, lobster and mussel pasta with cream sauce for lunch (always thinking I am)… Crisis averted. It was so strange pulling into the barn with just Coach there. I totally got what the “others” feel at the barn. So peaceful and beautiful. Usually there is a flurry of riders, dogs, horses, trailers and everyone trying to get Coach’s attention. But on this sunny, cool morning, it was just two tired (for totally different reasons) Momma’s about take on some ..shit.
How hard can it be? …My hands are already a little chilly…
There are 13 stalls at Adda’Go. All of the horses are out in the field in the morning- I believe this is called “turn out”. I wasn’t there for the terrifying event the evening before when all of the horses thunder out into the field being followed by a small human encouraging them along their way. I will not ever be that human. “Adventurers” have their limits.
The only two creatures in the facility were “Lil Bit” the mini-horse (about the same size as MoMoney and George and much better behaved) and “Donk”. I think that’s his name… He is literally a mini- donkey (I picture him talking in a kid- like Eddie Murphy voice)… Coach suspected leading Donk to his turn out would be plenty enough of an experience for me. She haltered him and handed me the end of the line. I am now responsible for one of the many creatures here at Adda’Go. Moment of reflection. Don’t make Coach yell at me. I told mini-donkey not to make any sudden ass movements. There isn’t room for two jackasses this morning. I managed to walk him outside without incident.
This isn’t too bad at all….Only a small sweat…
Next thing I know, Coach hands me a pitch fork (I sense she was LOVING this moment..just a feeling). Nope, not a pitch fork, a shit fork. Who knew?!! A tutorial ensued: Horse stalls really are like a giant hamster cages with everything on a bigger scale. Including the shit. Such a skill she has to make sure all learning is relatable. Like humans, there are messy ones and clean ones. Flushers and non-flushers. Wipers and non-wipers. First, you scoop the ‘obvious’ into the wheelbarrow saving the wood shavings ($$$) you can. Next you “bank” the stalls. So, you muscle up and throw the shavings on the interior wall of each stall (like egging a house..but it’s legal and it’s poop instead of eggs). All of the ‘matter’ comes to the front of the stall..then you go at ‘er again. Mojo assists in the stall cleaning. Swallowing a large portion of manure per stall. Most helpful he has been all week. Uh oh! Problem solving ensues. My fork is no longer flipping, sifting and banking as it should. There is something stuck in it? I ask Coach for assistance. Have I broken a beloved shit fork? Will she yell? No yelling. With a promise that what is stuck between the twines of my fork is not gold (damn), she showed me the technique of scraping the bottom of the fork against the wheel borrow until the not gold nugget shit ball released.
This isn’t too bad at all, Thank GAWD I brought Coach pasta.. Not too bad at all?? I am sweating,,,Time for a layer of clothing to come off…my hands aren’t feeling so cold anymore and I need water….. Where is Coach? Oh there she is – as chipper as ever chatting away and a good 3 stalls ahead of me. Really, how hard can it be? We will be finished up soon and I can get back online by 10 a.m…
Apparently once the wheelbarrow is full of aforementioned materials, you have to take it OUTSIDE and dump it. Coach basically pirouettes and floats on air taking it out. Backwards up a hill….GAWD, I love her. Back to banking. Few more stalls to go. Again, our wheel barrow of not gold is full. (Can’t fault a girl for trying). My turn to do the dumping…. And I huffed and I puffed and almost blew the barn down. We continued to chat away. I think Coach grinned as I was ankle deep in shit. Really, how hard can it be? And this is a great workout. I have broken a sweat. We must be almost done now… WAIT! Next we add wood shavings to stabilize the horses feet … not too bad! Now we do water? Right, right, I guess camels and horses aren’t the same thing.
OH MY GOOD GAWD THIS IS.. HARD.… So we sorted the pails and filled them with water. (I totally pictured myself with a stick over my shoulders balancing the pails with a wee child in a sling on my front in balmy weather). But no it wasn’t really like that. It was just hard work. I feel strong in this moment…. and terribly unfit at the same time. Next we set up lunch hay in the stalls. Almost finished…? Oh crap, and then we sweep… I must compare sweeping to jogging. Or running, or jogging, with sprints, while carrying dumbells. We took turns. She swept right, I swept left. I knew being a leftie would be helpful at some point of this adventure. Last task, lunch (mmm, lunch) hay to horses outside. Out comes the pitch fork and to the hay I go. The horses are like humans. Some share. Some don’t. Not sure what their issue is..it’s not like its chips and dip (mmm.. dill pickle dip). I strategically place the piles as per coach’s instruction. We check the water levels. They can make it until “turn-in”. Moment of thank the good GAWD as filling those tanks just sounded heavy.
OH MY GOOD GAWD THIS IS.. HARD….
Horses are happy, I had a great chats with Amanda… I went home and sat on the couch. Wait a minute here…she went back to the house to tend to 3 kids…and then back out for 3 p.m. chores. And then lessons… And oh yes, she is on “Holidays” WOW, Right….. Set-up really wasn’t too bad, I could feel at least the lower right side of my back…
not bad at all.
It wasn’t -30, all horses are healthy and where they were meant to be. A good day all round. And, I was even close enough to a horse to give it a scratch (Penny the dolly)…. She counts as a horse right? As I write this Mojo and Georgey are still in a slumber from all of the fresh air and excitement, except for when Mojo gets up to puke up his barn buffet. They are game to do it all again. March 2nd complete.
Thank you Amanda.
Yours in stepping into another business woman’s and Mom’s shoes for a sunny, morning at Adda’Go,
A very tired and happy Andrea xo (Like Clare? Hehe..xo)