Twice now I’ve gotten to the barn around a chore time. I helped feed out grain a couple weeks ago, and today stall-cleaning was going on and I helped pick out Lucky’s stall. Since the sawdust was being unloaded and the aisle was blocked I groomed in the stall, which had the added benefit of being even more out of the wind. (We didn’t get the worst of the storms here, but yesterday’s thunderstorms turned into snow overnight. Only in Michigan….) Lucky clearly remembers how to stand for grooming in his stall instead of the crossties, though I doubt at the track he had a helpful tortie cat sitting in the manger or drinking out of his water bucket. (Helpful Cat is helpful.) Though he did at one point decide to try and nip my leg, for which he got a bop in the nose. It didn’t appear to be an aggressive bite, but I don’t need grooming help from a horse’s teeth.
He’s now back out with the other boarder’s horses and appears much happier. He’s generally chummy with Peanut, the elderly palomino gelding, and he gets on all right with Sky and Vandy. He’s just not assertive enough to deal with the red-headed mare in the other pen! But then he’s not especially assertive in general. A quiet “older gentleman” like Peanut is more his speed.
Of course, as I had him in the freshly-clean stall where J. had just put down some nice new straw, Lucky (who has messed in the crossties so few times I can count them) had to leave a deposit. I picked it out once he was back outside. And I realized, I LIKE cleaning the stall. I like having something to do at the barn other than groom and ride. I’m sure I’d get tired of it every day, never mind the inconvenience of having a horse at home when I need to go somewhere (though given two out of three neighbors here have horses, I could probably find someone to give hay and water at least) but there’s something cathartic about picking a stall.
Even when your horse appears to be a pig. Lucky’s got a stall like a sty–starts out perfectly nice but he seems to make a concerted effort to make it into a mess.