Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Good Very Bad Day

It began with a nasty email and ended with a flood.



Oh, you want more? The whole story? Ok, well you have to promise not to laugh at me. Promise? And this is going to be really, really long since I just want to complain about everything. Be prepared.

I got a nasty email from someone this morning that was totally uncalled for. I guess some people just can't be civil. I won't go into details unless you're absolutely dying to know but it pissed me off. Amazing how one little email can darken your whole morning. I steamed all the way to my first class.

Class went as usual, nothing exciting there. I'm feeling incredibly stressed right now since all my final projects are due this week and finals are next week. I finally get out to the barn to ride my pony. Her stall is filthy. I have never seen it this bad. There is not one scrap of clean, dry bedding. It is wet, it is nasty. There is a puddle of pee in the corner. Hmph.

Ab-sol-ute-ly disgusting!

The water bucket. It should never look
 like this. I don't want to make my horse have to
 drink out of something that looks like this.
 Why am I so upset? Because I've talked to the BO about it several times. I've offered to pay for extra bags of pellets and I buy Stall Dry to help with the wetness. I get it, Jetta is really messy, but why would they ever let it get that bad?! It is bad for so many reasons:
  1. The ammonia in urine breaks down proteins in the hoof wall and sole, softening and weaking those structures.
  2. "Harmful effects of ammonia inhalation include burning of the delicate tissues of the lungs and eyes, narrowing of the throat and bronchi, fluid in the lungs, airway hyperactivity and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)." Quote
  3. What horse would ever want to lay down in pee-soaked bedding?? I was always taught that a stall should be clean enough that you would lay down in it yourself. Pony club anyone?
  4. It reflects poorly on the barn because quality barns uphold a higher level of horse care.
Not only that, but there is a sign with bright red letters saying that she bites! And that her gate must stay up, so she can't stick her head out and see what's going on or talk to the horses next to her. My first thought was "What did they do to make her bite?" Because she doesn't bite. Sure, maybe when I pull her mane she bites or she'll bite other horses out in the pasture, but never another person. She's too much of an attention hog for that. So I hmphed about that too.


I fumed my whole ride, so it's not surprising I didn't have that stellar of a ride. But she was still pretty good and I got off no more upset than I was when I had gotten on.

By that time, all the horses had been fed and the hired hand left without cleaning the stall. Hmph. So I untacked Miss Jetta and cleaned her stall. I stripped the filthy nasty thing and dragged her filthy water bucket out to empty it (I need more adjectives that mean the same thing as filthy) and gave it a good scrub. I'm still stunned at how bad they let it get. I left the water bucket filling while I ran and got some bedding pellets. I figured that we might be out of pellets, which is why Jetta's stall is just as filthy as it was yesterday, but nope, two whole pallets of pellets. I marked down the two I took on the chart and headed to the stall.

No shortages of pellets here.
Ok. You promised you wouldn't laugh: As I'm walking back, I hear the unmistakable sound of the water bucket running over so I drop the two bags of pellets I'm carrying and sprint to the hose and turn it off. The stall is flooded with about a half inch of water. Cue beating head against wall.

FINE, you can laugh now. I admit I was chuckling as I beat my head against the wall. Now, if that isn't a sure sign of insanity, I don't know what is...

So I spend the next thirty minutes scooping water out of the stall with a shovel into the wheel barrow. It took about two half-full wheelbarrows to get it moderately emptied. Luckily, bedding pellets are made to be watered down a bit (though not as much as I did!), so once I put the pellets in the stall, they fluffed up and were pretty dry. Jetta's hay was soaked, but I don't think she minded as she happily slurped it down later on.

One of the wheelbarrows full of water...
The moral of this story: Keep your eye on the #?*!%@/~ bucket while you're filling it! Ahem. And please excuse my language. It's been a long day.

Jetta had been standing in the cross ties while I cleaned her stall, so she was quite antsy with anticipation for her dinner and I had yet to clean out her feet. I picked her hooves with some difficulty since she wasn't wanting to stand still, managing to get ThrushBuster all over my hands. If you haven't experienced Thrush Buster, then you don't know that it's a nasty smelling (not as bad as Coppertox though) dark purple liquid that stains your hands for weeks. By the time I turned the pony back into her stall (with the gate down so she could stick her head out), I was covered in horse slobber, nasty filthy stall material, dirty water, Thrush Buster, and arena dirt from Jetta's hooves. There was no way I was still going to the grocery store like that.

So that was my day. Pretty rotten. I feel (and I'm sure I also sound) like a Scrooge today. It's a good thing I'm not also suffering from hormonal mood swings because then I'd also be sobbing right now. But I'm not, luckily.

After I cleaned it. The stall should look like this at least half the time IMO!

Fresh clean water is a must in my books.
 The nasty dirty stall was a last straw kind of thing, so I've notified the BO that I am switching to partial care and will be cleaning my own stall from now on. I probably should have done it earlier, but I was hoping it would improve. I pay $50 extra for full care, but I'm not really getting anything out of it, so at least my poor horse won't stay in a gross stall 24/7. I've also decided to switch barns. It's probably no secret to regular readers that I don't really like the current barn I'm at. It does have a lot of nice amenities, but they're not worth it if my horse isn't being cared for properly. Of course no one has any openings right now, but I've gotten on the waitlist for another barn that I adore. I probably won't move until the next school year, but at least I'm feeling better since deciding to move and I'll look into a few other places around.

Sorry for talking your ear off writing your eyeballs out but I just needed to vent. I seem to do a lot of that, but well, that's my life I guess.


  1. Been there, done that, feel awful for you. At the barn I used to keep my horses at the people were scared of my mare, so when I broke my ankle her stall became a hell hole. I stopped using crutches about two weeks early just so I could clean her stall.

    I hope you can find someplace better soon.

  2. Ugh, first off, we all have those CRAPTASTIC days. TO the bad email, just let that negativity roll right off. Easier said than done!
    Second, yea, agreed 1000% percent. A stall should be clean and dry, and water glistening. Two things I am ANAL about. I've in fact, bought my OWN buckets, etc I still pretty much clean b/c I'm obsessed. I provide a lot of things that I want for MY horse and others benefit..which is OK, but it's like "Hello, am I alone in this?" The pine pellets u use, I'm seriously interested in that. How long do they last for? We use just Pine shavings and they get pretty damp quickly. Now for me, with Laz out 24/7 it's OK..but come cooler weather, I assume he may spend more time inside vs out and I want a drier stall. How often will you yank out pellets and bring in a new bag? Do u put the whole 40lb in one stall? Thanks!

  3. I totally agree that a stall should be clean and dry! I am grateful that my barn does a good job of this. And if Shy poops or pees later in the evening when I am there, I muck it out for her. No one wants a dirty room! I hope you have a better week! I bet a break from school is well deserved and needed!

    Kristen, we use the pine pellets at our barn, too! They are amazing! It really depends on the horse and how neat he is as to how often it needs a new bag. Shyloh is pretty neat, so she doesn't need a new bag as often. The TBs at my barn are messier, so they get a new bag more often. What we do is sift and muck the stalls, then spread the remaining sawdust. If they need a new bag, drop it in the stall, cut it open with a big X, add some water, and wait. The pellets will expand into sawdust. Then dump and spread. We use Equine Fresh from Tractor Supply. Its about $6/bag to buy individually. I bought some extra yesterday to help soak up leakage from all the rain.

  4. Thanks guys! Just what I needed to hear. Some people seem to think I'm overreacting, but I just want my pony to be happy!

    As to the pellets - I LOVE them! I've used them for a long time since they're easier to clean than shavings and easier to store than sawdust. With Jetta, it lasts 4 to 5 days before it needs to be stripped (I use 2 bags of pellets for a 12x12 stall). With my other horses who are much cleaner, it'll last a week or more. You put a little water on to puff some of them up, but otherwise they stay pellets so they are able to absorb a lot of liquid, easy to clean up since the dry pellets sift right through the pitchfork, etc. They decompose in the manure pile well too. I'd definitely look into them :)

  5. Eww, that stall was nasty! They sure aren't doing a good job! It's probably best that you switched to doing it yourself.

    I hope things are going better today!!

    And I'm pretty sure when Scarfie is inside, his bed is a lot cleaner than mine. Luckily he is relatively neat, so that makes it easier.

    Hopefully you can talk to someone about the sign that Jetta bites as well.

  6. Sounds like a rough day.
    Don't let whoever sent you that email upset. That obviously what they want so don't give them the satisfaction.
    You are totally right to be mad a the BO for the state of Jetta's stall.

  7. Confession: I did chuckle several times.

    I love how this inspired you to seek what you DO LOVE: another barn that you adore!

    When you lead your horse from a cone to the barrel.... Where is your focus? On the cone? I think not!

    Keep your mind on the barrel, filled with your dream of being in a place that you love and adore. Who knows, a place may open up sooner than you could have imagined! When you really want something and you think of nothing else, miracles happen.

    All the best to you and your horse!