Column: Night in the life of a horse girl


Column: Night in the life of a horse girl

By Grace Hachey 

The life of a horse girl can be messy, laborious, and exhausting. There’s dirt, hay, shavings, and poop, all wound together in an endless cycle. I’ll admit, it can be tough trying to keep all of your horses fed, happy, and in some cases, alive. However, I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

A horse girl’s routine starts long before it’s actually considered night time. I start with cleaning the stalls, somewhere around 3:00. This includes clunking into the paddock on the tractor and  filling the front scooper with – I’m sure you can guess – poop! 

When the stall is feces-free and I have a boot full of dirt, I bring the dirty shavings out back and return the tractor to its spot by the grain room. I then make supper, but not for me of course. 

I give each horse the amount of grain they need, and make sure they have all their supplements. I always make sure to mix some water into the grain buckets because it’s getting warm now, and the horses need some extra hydration. 

When I have the four buckets filled, and two glucosamine cookies in hand I bring everything out to the back where there are six hungry horses waiting. They all stare at me while I carry down their long awaited supper. You’d never know that I put out hay for them no more than an hour ago. 

I make sure the oldest of the ponies is secured in the V.I.P. lounge, it’s known as. It’s a stall-sized pen that he goes in to eat so that the other horses don’t take his food, because he eats a little slower than the rest. 

The sassy, but gorgeous, thoroughbred mare is next. She stands in the stall and paws at the ground until I serve her food. Even when she’s eating, she always keeps one front foot in the air. I couldn’t tell you why, but that’s what she does. 

The last big horse stands in the same spot every day and waits patiently for me to bring her grain. Dinner time is by far her favorite part of the day, so she’s always in a happy and cuddly mood while she’s eating. 

Once the three “bigs” are happy, I bring the last grain bucket out to the minis. There are three of them, but only one of them needs to have grain. Mini horses are usually only supposed to eat hay, but one of them is older and skinnier so he gets one little scoop. 

I bring two large hay nets out for the other two, while the little old man waits- sort of- patiently. When it’s his turn, I dump the grain into his little bucket, which is very low to the ground so he can reach. 

I fill up the water trough, and all of the smaller buckets. I always make sure the green bucket on the far left is filled to the top because it is the horses’ favorite one. Now for the most relaxing part.

The big horses are starting to finish their dinner, while the minis munch on their hay. Watching them all happily eating is one of my favorite things to do. Around this time is also when I give the minis each a glucosamine cookie, to help their joints and weight stay healthy. The oldest one gets one whole cookie and the other two split one. The big horses get glucosamine too, but as a powder that I mix into their food. They refuse to have it in cookie form, for reasons unknown. 

When everyone’s finished, I bring all of the buckets back to the grain room. I make sure all the gates are closed and locked, and say goodnight to each pony. 

Even though it can be exhausting to take care of horses, at the end of a night at the barn I always feel satisfied and accomplished. Covered in dirt and hay, but accomplished. Of course, the happy pony snuggles before I leave always make everything worth it. It may not be for everyone, but the horse girl life is definitely for me.