Five is now the operative number around here. Yesterday I went to prepare the horses’ supplements – and that was the first thing that came to mind. It was mid-day. I pulled yet another Nancy’s yogurt container out of the dish rack, and set it next to the other four. It’s then that it occurred to me that eight years back I pulled two containers out of the rack, one for Siggi and one for Raudi. Then, a year later, I pulled a third one out, this one being earmarked for Tinni. And last fall, I pulled forth a fourth, and set it aside for Signy. I said to no one in particular, “This container is for Hrimmi. Dr. Wellington said that she’s to get a handful of mare and foal concentrate.”
I did not then dwell on how it came to be that we ended up with five Icelandic ponies. Rather, I stood for some time, overwhelmed, in fact so much so that I could not move. I had horses to feed, and this enabled me to move beyond a feeling of near abject terror.
However, this feeling resurfaced last night, at 3:30 a.m. It again occurred to me that tending to five horses is going to be an incredible amount of work. The space issue is the most daunting to me. We live on 2.5 acres and the horses are housed on .5 of an acre. This is well below what is deemed most acceptable, 1 acre per horse. Consequently, in order for all to thrive, we must make sure that they get exercised on a daily basis. Money is a secondary concern. We are not rich. But I’m not as worried about this—if need be, I can find a job that pays.
Both Pete and I also have other things to do. This includes a long list of house projects and a huge gardening venture.
I woke up feeling overwhelmed, and remained overwhelmed as I first fed and watered the horses, and then fed and watered myself.
After breakfast, Pete and I went outside and exercised Signy and Hrimmi, relying on what in three days has already become routine. We first took Raudi, Siggi, and Tinni out of the large pen and tied them to the trailer and hitching post. Then we let Signy and Hrimmi loose on the large pen. We both observed that Hrimmi has gotten faster and more sure footed. And she’s lengthening the distance between herself and Signy.
Forty five minutes later we put Hrimmi and Signy back in the foaling area, put Tinni and Raudi in the large pen, and put Siggi in the mid-sized pen. Foal training then resumed. I snapped the lead on Siggi’s halter, and lead her out of the enclosure. Hrimmi who is now totally imprinted on her dam, bounced along behind. I walked Signy and Hrimmi, and Pete went and got the camera. Then we swapped places – I took photos and Pete walked Signy and Hrimmi.
This was the first walkabout. Signy was attentive, but at the same time, incredibly cooperative. It occurred to me that her training as a pack horse has served her in good stead, as has my having walked her twice a day in her advanced stage of pregnancy.
Twenty minutes later we put the two away. Hrimmi sidled up to Signy, took a drink from the milk stand, and then collapsed on her CLEAN straw bed.
It was then than I felt an odd sense of reassurance. I keep saying it, and maybe I’ll soon believe it – remaining in the moment is going to be key to keeping everything around here on an even keel. Yes, we can (for now) accommodate a fifth horse. Begin with a plan, Steve Covey writes. The plan for the next few days is to continue with the in-pen exercise, and lengthen the walks. In time, we will introduce Hrimmi to her herdmates, one by one. This summer she’ll spend her days with the other four in the large pen, and her nights with Signy in the foaling stall. Right now, I don’t have to think beyond this point in time. And I’m not going to.
And I’m not going to let myself again feel overwhelmed about all this. Rather, each time I’ll count my blessings, all five, as I fill the empty yogurt containers.
Next: 154. 05/11/12: Whaddya Know . . .