The stresses of horse ownership

By Katharine Swan On Monday, November 19, 2007 At 4:32 PM

Friday morning's events also contributed to me not getting my work done.

I went to the stables Friday morning with every intention of only being there a short while before returning home to work. I cleaned Panama's stall, brushed him, and turned him out to run a bit.

Then another of the owners showed up, and we chatted a bit. She only recently brought her horse to the stables, and we share some concerns about the way the place is run.

I've probably mentioned that I clean Panama's stall every day because I don't think the owner cleans it frequently enough. I don't mind cleaning it, really; I would be there anyway, regardless, and it gives Panama time to graze. Also, there is something satisfying and comforting about doing it myself.

However, there is a point where the infrequent cleanings become rather disturbing. On Friday, one of the horses was walking around in nearly six inches of manure, spread across the floor of his stall. Another horse, who likes to poop in the same place every time, had a veritable mountain of manure in his stall.

The real concern came when the other owner and I both decided to give our horses a flake of hay as a treat before we left. We cracked into a bale that had not yet had any hay taken off of it, and found that the inside of quite damp. (The owner stores some of his hay outside under tarps, which you are not supposed to do.) Sure enough, there was mold in the hay, too. Panama found it, but thankfully tossed it aside and didn't eat it; however, I worry that he would have gone back later and eaten it when he got hungry again between meals, had I not noticed.

Later that afternoon, yet another one of the owners sent me a text message stating that she had found mold, too.

When my main issue with the stables was the infrequent stall cleaning, I wasn't worried about it so much; the price is cheap enough to make cleaning his stall myself worthwhile. However, I won't keep Panama where his safety and health is a concern, no matter how cheap the price. I'll see how the winter goes, but if the problems continue I will find Panama a new home in the spring.

Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten good at working when I have something troubling on my mind. When I am upset, I just can't focus on work, so I didn't get much done on Friday, either.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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