“The barn needs cleaned so bad, there’s no room for the horse to get in.”
Not that way here, but it’s been such many times in certain farm barns.
Literally, bedding and waste get so piled up, it’s just a couple feet to the ceiling. Horses and cattle can’t stand up even if they crawl through the doorway.
Keeping barns and barnyards cleared of wastes is a major ordeal when one owns livestock.
A fulltime job literally, and in tight confinement of a small stall missing daily cleaning is apparent. A horse living in its own waste, one could say.
At least annually, barnyards must be cleaned with tractor, loader and dump truck or spreader. More often if large numbers are in small areas at all times.
Stall cleaning certainly has never been a forte. With 15 horses in every stall, makeshift pens, inside and outside cluttered bedding often got pretty deep.
Attempt made for “lick and promise” when one went home and another came. Thing about it, through all of the horses and decades, not once did anybody criticize. Concern was always more how their horse rode, because that’s what was requested and paid for.
Clean horse stalls of others have always been admired. There are big time commercial facilities that are truly immaculate. Clean enough to eat off of has been said.
With exceptions, generally it’s not the trainer doing the stall cleaning. There’s fulltime staff assigned that task. They also feed, water, brush, saddle, warm up, cool out and put away horses.
Oh to have a personal groom. Wash the truck, trailer, hookup, load horses, drive, do it all before, during and after shows. No such fortune.
Uncle Elmer was inspiration in many things around the ranch. Cleaning the barn was one of them. He’d work pitchfork nonstop more than seven-foot high waste on the spreader.
It’s those without a spreader who have it toughest, waste piled like barnyard mountains. Major work to even dump wheelbarrow filled from stalls.
One horse stalled now, with daily cleaning and spreader just a few feet away. Still frown about the task, but serves as pasture fertilizer.
Reminds of First Corinthians 15:11: “It is work to do, God giving the energy to do it.” Then, Luke 13:8: “Put some barn waste on the grass to make it grow.”
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.