Fun With Horses
- June 19, 2019
- Jolyn Young
I was bumming out the other day, because the extent of my horse activities these days is pitching hay and filling the water trough. My husband took 6 of our horses with him to day work at a ranch 400 miles away, and I’m taking care of the 2 kids’ horses in his absence. I haven’t saddled them up and ridden with the kids, though, because I don’t feel comfortable being the only pair of eyes supervising a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a baby during a riding session.
So, I drove past Canoe and Teaks every time I left home and felt sorry for myself for several weeks. Then I told myself to quit feeling sad and do something fun with those two old geldings. I strapped the baby to my chest and took my kid crew out to the horse pen. I caught the horses, and each kid led one to the front yard. I instructed them to drop the lead ropes and we’d let them mow the lawn for me.
I really hate mowing the lawn, but and I love watching – and listening – to grazing horses. The kids and I sat in a shady corner of the yard and chatted while we watched our 2-horsepower lawnmower eagerly cut the grass. I watched their ears flick forward and back. From time to time, they blew briskly through their noses, which is one of my top two favorite sounds. Their teeth ground together rhythmically as they moved around the yard, looking for the tastiest stems.
We watched their tails swish flies.
“Hey, Canoe has a butt crack!” exclaimed my little boy, Milo. “Does Teaks have a butt crack?”
“Yes, all horses have butt cracks,” I replied. “Just like all people do.”
Because he’s only 3, and his “th” still sounds like “p.”
“Yes, just like everything.”
Then we yelled “I see a butt crack!” every time a horse swished his tail. And we giggled in the dappled shade of our maple tree.
The next time I caught my lawnmowers, I grabbed a spray bottle of mane detanlger and a brush. My son sprayed the bottom part and I sprayed the top, then I combed out the witches’ knots that had shamefully formed in my favorite horse’s mane. We discussed the differences between mares and geldings. Milo puzzled over their chestnuts, asking me why they had such big owies on their legs. I said I didn’t know, but they didn’t hurt.
Sometimes, we drop the lead ropes and shade up in the house while the horses meander around the grassy areas. They wander in and out of the yard, across the driveway to the non-fruit bearing fruit trees (a plant species that makes me go “huh???”), and poke around the dog kennels just to make sure I’m not hiding the tallest timothy back there. When they start to munch on the hay stack, I pick up the lead ropes and return them to their pen.
Then I admire how my rosebushes and flowering shrubs stand out so much more with all the grass neatly trimmed around them. The horses are very tidy and thorough. Plus, now they meet me at the gate and all but tie their own halter. And I love the excuse to pet their soft shoulders, smell their manes, and listen to their hoofbeats following me down the driveway.
About Jolyn Young
Jolyn Young lives near Fallon, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....