Updated: Dec 25, 2020
Horses are a way of life, when you use them to earn a living. They are a huge commitment
that should not be entered into lightly (like marriage :)). When Jim and I married in 1986, we had already been dating for quite a while, and I realized that horses were part of the package when I married him. I did not grow up in a farm family, so it was a bit of an adjustment. The biggest part is how hard it is to get away for vacations or for any length of time. Not just anyone is willing to come and take care of big Draft Horses. They can be a bit overwhelming and frightening due to their size. But it can be done, with planning and finding the right person to help. Our family was able to take several long vacations during the summer when horses can be out to pasture. And I have come to know that as soon as the car is in park in our driveway, Jim is on a run to change his clothes and head out to the barn to check on the horses and make sure all is well. We do a lot of day trips so he can get back to feed the horses.
Then there is just the fact that our schedules are framed around the horse’s feeding schedules and needs. Consistency in feeding time is so important with the horses, especially if they are going to go out and work all day. They need to be fed at the same time in the morning. Almost like clockwork, Jim feeds the horses their supper, and then just like clockwork after our supper, he heads back out to water them for one last time and make sure they are all set for the night. But routines are not a bad thing at all, and a lot of good things are built into our life due to this routine that needs to stay constant.
Since we have the horses, it also shaped what we did as a family when the kids were young and how we interacted with our friends and family. We had sleigh rides together, sometimes inviting friends/family. We went to horse pulls and fairs in the summer. We even had several horsepulls here at the farm. The kids rode the draft horses sometimes. I guess sometimes that can be good and bad, but it’s always good to do the best we can with what is right in front of us.
And there are lots of lessons to learn from the day in and day out taking care of horses that can be very good and character building. And there is an element of danger that is always present being so closely entwined with such large creatures. But that’s another story for another day. The best thing we can do is to do the things God put us on earth to do, that which you feel compelled to do. Hats off to everyone who has chosen to take this path, it’s not easy but it’s good!