“Horses are meant to run in the pasture.”
That’s when they’re not working for their keep under saddle or harness.
However, man has changed nature’s intended horse environment.
While many horses still get the opportunity to enjoy the wild and free at its best, a lot are in confinement, too.
Seemingly, large numbers of the “Cowboy’s Best Friend” are kept in box stalls majority of the time.
Typically, they’re turned out to stretch legs, roll and scratch the back regularly.
Yet, others seldom get more than looking through small openings in four tight stall walls.
Show horses are typically kept in stalls with daily exercise. Likewise, many horses in training are housed in stalls.
This is more convenient in a number of ways while helping reduce injury that might occur when horses run in groups.
At one point, there were nearly two dozen horses confined in stalls here. Eight were in the main barn, with others mostly in portable panels wired together as makeshift stalls.
Now, there is only one horse kept confined to a stall, and Maggie relaxes throughout the day in an indoor arena.
Those eight stalls in the original barn are idle most of the time. However, they’re called into use throughout the year for cattle, special horse housing, and the like.
Nearly four decades ago, one show horse was a “cribber.” He’d eat wood, destroying the barn, literally.
So, some other horseshow people who were in the welding business built us a steel box stall for that gelding. After he was gone, the stall has remained in use for horses that needed to be inside.
Despite heavy construction, time took its toll. The heavy steel rusted through making the stall dangerous. Complete renovation by a young welder now has it restored and back in use.
Over the years, a horse was traded for two “stall fronts,” and used periodically with portable panels to make stalls. With additional steel construction, they’ve also been renovated into another “new stall.”
There are again ten stalls available for ranch use. Yet, no intention to keep more than a couple horses inside.
Reminds us of Second Chronicles 9:25: “Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses, and 12,000 horsemen, stationed in chariot cities or at Jerusalem with the king.” Then, Nehemiah 6:10: “They found safety behind locked gates.”
Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.