Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to Work . . .

I no longer own horses of my own--it’s been a couple of years now--and I’ve got to tell you, I am still going through withdraw. I need a horse fix, and I need one badly.

For a while, writing about horses helped because when I’m writing a “horse” scene, I feel like I’m in the scene. Like every equine author I know, the horses that I’ve known and loved come alive for me then. So, that’s fun. And I love it when I have a “riding” dream. I had one the other night, and interestingly enough, I was paired with my old partner, Stoney--my first horse. We were on a trail ride together, and he was his typical self: fun and a bit mischievous. I was amazed at the muscle memory at play. Everything felt so real. Then, unfortunately, my pesky cat woke me up, and that was that. Man, did I want that dream to last.


What to do? With all the family obligations and the writing job, and the obvious--no horses--getting some quality horse time is going to be a challenge. So, I got to thinking . . . what if I can combine writing with being around horses? I could haul my laptop to the nearest horse show and write while being surrounded by beautiful horses. Nah, I doubt I’d get any writing done. Might as well take my camera instead, enjoy the show, and snap some pictures.

Could I get a part-time job in a stable to satisfy my need? I don’t see how given my time constraints, though as weird as this might sound, I love mucking stalls.

Then, I got to thinking about my all-time favorite job--delivering foals on the night shift.

(See June 3rd and 18th posts for more about that job.)

At this huge (500+ horses) Pennsylvania farm where I worked, foaling attendants were expected to muck stalls or clean waterers between rounds. Then, as morning approached, we would hay and grain about eighty horses before our shift was over at seven. Believe me; I would have been bored if I didn’t do stalls. It pays to keep busy: other employees there had been caught napping.

But, I know some breeding farms work differently. The foaling attendant may only be expected to make rounds and/or monitor CCTV screens and deliver foals with nothing much to do in between, and I can see why. While I appreciated being kept busy mucking out between rounds, I used to feel sorry for the mares in the barn where I was working because their sleep was definitely interrupted.

Anyway, maybe I can bargain with a local breeder. I’d work for a lot less if I can do the rounds and deliver the foals and write when nothing much is going on.

In the meantime, I’ll have to find another way to get my horse “fix.”

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