This morning, it was about 11F with no wind when I turned Pie and Dawn out. Pie's naked and Dawn's in her heavyweight Rambo, and they're both comfortable in their own ways. Since it was a pretty nice day and since I was dressed already for outdoor work - our barn is unheated - I decided to give my long-suffering husband some help and poo pick Pie's paddock (nice alliteration there if I say so myself!). He usually does this, since moving the manure cart through the snow can be a bit of a physical challenge, and the poo is frozen to the ground. This morning, though, the snow was pretty packed down so I thought I'd do it. I use a hoe to free the poo from the snow and frozen ground and then pick it up with a rake. Not really too hard, although it's about like picking up small rocks - they make an amazing clatter as they hit the manure bucket.
Pie's turned out to be less neat in the bathroom department than I had expected - the poo piles were pretty well-distributed around the paddock, with a few in the shelter. He was probably so neat in his stall because he wasn't moving around much and the stall was pretty small for him. I must say the boy is no slouch in the manure production department - there were an amazing number of piles for less than 24 hours - but then he's no slouch in the hay-eating department either.
I've always enjoyed the parts of horse ownership that relate to making my horse comfortable - the feeding, stall cleaning, poo picking, changing out water buckets (although that's my least favorite chore, especially when Dawn makes a "deposit" in hers), and grooming and blanketing, and even things like paste worming and veterinary after-care. It's nice to contribute to the welfare of happy horses, and I'm picky enough (no comments from family members about this point, please) about the quality of their care to enjoy getting it as right as I can.
I was really pretty happy up there in Pie's paddock this morning picking poo, and watching the horses in their dry lots. When I was done, I went out and gave Pie a nice hug and scratch. He was glad to see me, but even happier to get back to eating hay.