Thursday, September 22, 2011

Days End Horse Rescue

Whoa, it's been awhile! Sorry about that.

I was able to arrange it to have a babysitter come and watch the kids once a week so that I could get out of the house. (It's nice not to go crazy!) And I wanted to spend the time either volunteering for the park where I'm on the museum committee, at a horse rescue farm, or sitting in a coffee shop working on my writing. (I'm in a writers group! Yay!)

I've passed Days End Horse Rescue farm on the way to pick fruit at Larriland Farms many times. Outside their main fence they've had a sign saying they needed volunteers, so I signed up! I'll probably go there twice a month to work. I look at it as a chance to learn in a realistic setting what it takes to care for large animals (horses in this case) and to gain some valuable experience at a working farm for when we have our own small farm some day. I figure the price of a babysitter every week is like paying for an inexpensive hands-on course in horse care and farm chores. Awesome!

So, I went there last Tuesday and went through a one-on-one orientation with this nice young woman named Jill. She showed me around the farm, explained where they get their rescued horses from (abused and neglected) and how they bring them back to health. All the horses are graded at a certain level of behavior so that beginner volunteers don't wind up working with a Level Red horse who is dangerous and highly unpredictable.

My first day I helped muck out a stall (Yay! I've been looking forward to that. Well, hey, I didn't grow up on a farm so mucking is like a novelty!) and accidentally left the horse's stall door open when I left to dump off the old sawdust from his stall. Doh! Luckily, he was occupied with his food and didn't make a break for it and an employee saw it in time and closed the door. Won't make that mistake again! I also helped move around some donations from another farm into the feed barn and filled up a wheel barrow with fresh sawdust for the stall. And I learned to "catch" and lead a horse as well as how to read a horse's body language. Luckily they gave me a nice, docile horse who was a sweetie and only a tiny stubborn. After only a few hours I was beat! It really showed me how much of a wimp I am - something I'm hoping volunteering at this place will cure. I really have never been around big animals like this much, and it was pretty intimidating! I'm used to cats and gerbils, people! So, obviously, I've got a lot to learn.

And man, it was muddy! I'm gonna have to get me some muck boots...

Oh, and the 2011 Mother Earth News Fair is coming up this weekend! Woohoooo! And I'm very excited that Jenna from Cold Antler Farm is going to be there to speak and hold a couple of workshops. I am really stoked about her meat rabbit workshop. I'll let you know what I learn!


Casey said...

That's awesome! I've also been frightened of horses, especially Mr. Martin's, but I always thought they were beautiful and strong. Part of me wishes horses were still allowed to roam free in the wilderness! Like that part in Neverending Story when Bastian is riding Falkor and sees Aytru riding Artax with the other wild horses!

Sarah Rachelle said...

Oh yeah! I love that part. :-)

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