Why I spent the morning shoveling horse manure.

I have always said that I'll do anything for my kids. Now, I know I'll do anything. Yesterday, I cleaned horse stalls – you got it, shoveling horse manure and wet straw out and spreading the new straw in its place.

It all started when my youngest wanted gerbils last summer. I got three. No, one wouldn't do. I looked on local listings on Craigslist.com and responded to several ads giving away free ones and when two people got back to me, I accepted both offers. One person was giving away one in a fish tank and the other two came to us on a street corner in a Tampax box — which is how I ended up with gerbils in my office listening to my every word, spying on my works in progress, and chewing, scratching their cages and spitting out debris everywhere. My husband didn't want them in the dining room and my daughter's room was beginning to smell- bad- since she wasn't keeping them cleaned out enough on her on and so here we are.

I kept saying: "But at least they don't live THAT long, do they?" It has already been long enough and I think we have a couple years to go. I should have stuck with goldfish.

Then, my other daughter piped up. "Mom, I want a horse" – to which I appropriately balked and said, "Uh, NO." BUT, horses are in our blood. My dad grew up in Kentucky where horse barns were as prevalent as garages, at least in his day. In recent summers, we visited our Southern clan and my parents have graciously sent the girls to horse camp for a week, fueling my daughter's desire to have horses herself someday.

Knowing we couldn't afford a horse, we recently learned about an opportunity to exchange lessons for barn maintenance. The barn was also starting up a 4H horse club which I knew my girls would love. So, now, Mom (me) is learning the ropes so I can bring both my girls back after school and have them help me. I think it is good all around b/c my daughter will learn whether she truly wants to run a barn someday by dealing with the chores related to it, both girls will enjoy the lessons and projects with the 4H club AND they get free lessons out of it. BUT, that does mean more of my time investing somewhere else in addition to the things I've already committed to in my week.

And, you know, I love it. I could have gone to a Christian Writer's Group on Thursday that I really wanted to attend – but I have the rest of my life to write and connect with other writers. I could spend the morning cleaning out piles here. I could spend that time cutting coupons or writing but I love being outdoors, being around the horses. It is wholesome and something I want to encourage in my daughters so they are outside more getting exercise in a very unique way. I think this just might work. (And it's frugal – well, until we get into helmets and riding pants and riding gear but I learned of an Equine Exchange nearby we might just have to check out!)

Pictures to come!


  1. That sounds wonderful! Minus the horse poop part. Haha. I would love to look into that when my son gets older. Especially the 4H club.

  2. cheryllaplante2002@yahoo.com says:

    Glad to see your keeping up with your great writing skills. Keeping it real and fun.
    Take Care Cheryl

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