Saturday, August 25, 2007

Manure Patrol

This sign still hangs in my Dad's barn. It was a present from me either for Christmas or his birthday when I was about 12 years old, because it seemed to me at the time that these were the words I heard most often from him.

Some background: my folks first put me on a horse when I was about four years old, and my childhood passion was born. I started taking weekly riding lessons when I was about six, and immediately began begging for a horse of my own. For three and a half years, my parents tuned out my whining, and finally they snapped. When I was nine-and-a-half, they told me that if I could prove I would be responsible enough for a horse by taking complete care of our dog and cat for the next six months (feeding, grooming, cleaning up, making vet appointments) they would get me a horse for my tenth birthday. They never thought I'd do it.

We bought our first horse, Duchess, one week after I turned ten. Then a second, Bill. My Dad started riding, and suddenly found the meaning of life. We moved from the suburbs to the quasi-country where we could keep horses at home instead of boarding. Horse care was my responsibility, including feeding, grooming, tack care, and of course, cleaning up. We had next door neighbors who were NOT horse people and complained about flies and smell, so I was charged with mucking out stalls and corrals twice a day, rain or shine, which quickly became known as Manure Patrol.

But this was a good life lesson. Tempering the joy of any endeavor, (be it having animals or children or even a job) there's always some shit to shovel. Here's a pic of me, my Dad, and my son Sam who has also developed a love of "ride the horse."


Blogger Maya's Granny said...

Julie loves horses and we had no hope of ever buying one. So, at about 14 she presented herself at a local boarding stable and worked a deal to muck out the stalls in trade for lessons and riding time. She went almost every day. She always let the owner know the day before if she couldn't go. It was a wonderful experience for her.

12:25 AM  
Blogger materfamilias said...

lovely post, lovely photo

9:52 AM  
Blogger JuliaR said...

Great philosophy:
"Tempering the joy of any endeavor, (be it having animals or children or even a job) there's always some shit to shovel."

Just discovered your blogs while procrastining writing on mine.

10:15 AM  

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