Exercise is better when it involves muck

I have been AWOL from here for the better part of two weeks, which also means AWOL from FFFF for the most part.   But I’m back now, with a new batch of groceries and the renewed spirit that goes with having fresh, non-fuzzy food in the fridge.

I took a short vacation from blogging to work more than usual.   I have to figure out how to work in a fairly demanding job and still do everything else I am supposed to do, like ride, knit and write blog posts.  I pause to consider working parents and then I pause to thank God that all I have to take care is a brood consisting of the rough equivalent of 13 three year old children (6 horses, 5 cats, 2 dogs) who do not need much except space, food, water, cookies, belly rubs, and the occasional field rodent, reptile or skunk to kill or play with.

Oh, and the horses get something else … pedicures every 7 weeks or so.  That is, they get their hooves trimmed and some horses get shoes if they aren’t being kept barefoot.    Someday I will blog on the heady politics vs. science of the Horse World’s barefoot vs. shoes thing if you’re up for some controversy and general nonsense.

I use the horses’ spa time with our farrier to do some catching up on barn chores, since I need to be nearby while he works on the horses.  It is usual and customary for there to be a “handler” standing by for the farrier.   Just in case Something Happens.  Like if someone gets kicked.  More than likely at my farm, the someone getting kicked would be a horse, by the farrier.  But only for potentially or actually dangerous misbehavior.

Our farrier, Glen, with Tatiana supervising

What I do as the handler is hand the horses cookies while they balance on three feet instead of the usual and customary four.  This in my mind keeps the whole pedicure experience a pleasant one for the horse so they won’t misbehave and get kicked.  It also keeps me from annoying the farrier which I try not to do.  Having a good farrier is like having a good hair stylist.  You don’t want to piss them off and have them fire you as a client, and then have to test drive a bunch of new ones.

The other thing I do as the handler is walk away from the horse I am supposed to be handling and go do something else.  Like one of my favorite forms of exercise — cleaning the barn stalls.  It involves a wheelbarrow, manure fork, and of course manure, aka muck.  The only fashion statements you might want to make here are muck boots and gloves, but only if you’re fussy about getting muck on your feet or hands.  The exercise part is shoveling and lifting and dumping.  All the better for strength training if it has rained recently and the manure is soggy and ultra heavy.  Not to mention especially stinky.

Exercise room, with equipment

I don’t know what it is, but there is something about shoveling manure that I like.  It is so much more enjoyable than, say, mopping my kitchen floor or vacuuming the carpet.  It might be because I have poor eyesight.  I can see manure because it is big, and I can see the difference when it’s gone.  When I mop or vacuum, I can’t really see much of a difference from the before state.   The particles getting cleaned up are just too small to get much enjoyment out of the cleaning up of them.

Or, more likely, I can’t see the difference because I didn’t really actually do the mopping or vacuuming.  I just thought about it.  And then decided to go hang out in the barn.