Monday, December 8, 2008

Cleaning Stalls

A dirty stall (they do get worse than this)

A clean stall

Horse wisdom for the day: A clean stall equals happiness.

Some moms bake cookies with their daughters, it seems like me and mine are always cleaning stalls.

On a cold, wet, foggy day, the last thing you want to face is a dirty stall. Wheel-barrow after wheel-barrow full of muck, hauled out and dumped in the big hole. Then, after it's all dug out and leveled off, the fresh wood chips brought in and piled high--all fluffy and clean.

When you let the horses back in, they each have a different way of appreciating them. Some will lie right down and roll in the chips--others will sniff around and then directly go the bathroom--like Beautiful.

Thank you, Beautiful, couldn't you do that outside?? Save your mama some work?

But it does teach you lessons, as any recurring, seemingly thankless, brainless task will--the dishes, laundry--those things that never go away, so you become resigned to them, then let your mind wander, then take some joy and pride in a clean house/barn afterward.

So, I've been thinking of the wisdom I've gleaned from this dirty task--the one my neighbors, I'm sure, watch me do day after day and think--now that is why we don't have horses!

1. My daughter is growing up and our days of doing chores together are soon at an end. I've already got boys lining up to take her away--much like the geldings all of a sudden looking in at Beautiful Girl and her taking an equal interest in them.

I remember the first time this really occurred to me with my daughter. It was a couple years ago and we were out shopping and every few minutes I'd see some young man's head turn in our direction. I didn't think much of it for a while, but I started to wonder--am I dragging toilet paper on my shoe or what?

Then, I focused in and followed their eyes and saw that they were looking behind me at my daughter! It triggered a fear--and an understanding, that she was almost grown up.

2. If I wasn't cleaning stalls, that would mean I'd either hit the lottery (not likely since I don't buy tickets) or didn't have horses (more likely).

Sometimes our passions require great sacrifice--less money, less time, and some seeming drudgery to get to the good stuff.

When I had horses and then sold them, believe it or not, I missed the stall cleaning. I had fond memories of the smell of horse manure. (Call me crazy!!!)

3. Some of life's jobs are dirty, but you can always clean up later.

I remember as a little girl one day when my dad was teaching us to clean toilets. I really wanted to find a question that would excuse me from the duty. I asked, What about if you don't want to get germs on your hands? His reply was that we could always wash our hands after--and he pointed up at the sink and soap.

Believe it or not, that was an epiphany for me. Oh yeah, hands clean up.

Cleaning stalls is a lot like cleaning toilets, but worse--and there's nothing like a warm shower afterward.

4. It teaches me humility, and we can all use those lessons every day, can't we?

I don't think there's a time I clean stalls and I'm not reminded of the prodigal son, who returning to his father's home after years of philandering, asks for a place among the swine--cleaning pens.

Maybe, we human beings, are designed for just such duties.

What wisdom have you all learned from cleaning stalls, dishes, clothes, toilets, whatever it is you do?


  1. I've always felt it's good to be busy. Even the mindless chores serve a purpose, giving us an opportunity to either let our minds wander or process emotions/thoughts. And it's nice when those efforts are appreciated, cute how your horses express their happiness with a clean stall! How often does that cleaning have to be done?

  2. Hi Joanne.

    I agree with what you said about letting the mind process thoughts and emotions during work--my daughter and I talked about that same thing yesterday after our chores.

    We do a deep cleaning once or twice a week--depending on how bad it gets--and then spot cleaning every day. In the summer it's not so bad because the horses are rarely in the stalls.

    I was kidding with my daughter yesterday because we were talking about how great stall cleaning is, but then we both admitted that we'd give it up forever if someone offered to do it for us!

  3. Linda - see you in the morning at 9:30 right? If not please call me at 994 9829. thanks. I feel the same way about stalls. And the older I get the more I could be philophical while watching someone else do it for me.

  4. I'll be there, Lea--can't wait to chat with you!

  5. Honestly, I'd rather clean the stall than clean ANYTHING in my house! I'm not one of those people who likes to clean, period, let alone clean something just to keep busy, inside the house. BUT, I'll go out and clean around the stall or just clean up the horses. Now that it's wet, damp, cold, muddy, things aren't as easy out there, but I'd still rather make the trip out to the horses than look at a vacuum cleaner or clean a bathroom.

    Good thing Hubby is a tender hearted soul who encourages me to do what makes me happy. Oh sure, those mundane household chores get done, eventually.

    When I'm cleaning up after my horses and they're standing around like they are these days, because of the winter weather, I talk to them. They always seem to be at ease when I spend time with them like that. Maybe it's my voice. Or maybe they're contemplating the questions I've put to them!

    Some mornings I dread going out to the barn,in the cold, to feed and pick up the manure in the stall, but I would miss it if it wasn't part of my daily routine.

    Nice you and your daugther have time to spend together with something you share!

  6. Hi Leslie--I understand what you're saying about the household chores vs. the inside chores. The barn animals really keep you company and entertain you while you're working! Beautiful was running and bucking for me yesterday--then she slipped and hurt her leg, but walked it off. My littlest goat, English, always follows me around--as does my "barn kitten" #42, who now resides inside and only goes to barn when I do. :)


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.