The MMSC has been abuzz all week. The horses are coming! You would think that all of us were five years old and awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus. We are giddy with anticipation. We are scurrying around, trying to get everything clean and orderly. We are counting the days. Despite the week of delay, this still isn’t easy. The weather didn’t cooperate much this week. We still have over a foot of snow to contend with and the cold is aggressive. It’s a challenge to push a wheelbarrow full of shavings over an icy snow crusted hillock as it is to wash down shelves with gloves on. How do you line dry laundry when it is below freezing? Or just spend hours at a time in a barn with an arctic wind blowing through the aisle ways?
Even though we tidy up when we close in December, somehow, it never seems clean enough when we get ready to open in February. Dust. Cobwebs. Mustiness. How does this happen so quickly? It’s truly sobering how quickly nature reclaims. Call it entropy. Call it “dust to dust". Every year it is the same. Every year the week before horses come, we are a bustle.
The buckets and feed tubs come out of the garage and are scrubbed again. The walls are swept free of cobwebs, the windows cleaned. The empty feed bin gets filled with salubrious smelling grain. The medicine shelf gets scrutinized anew. All expired medicines are thrown out. New essentials—Bute and Banamine, SMZ tablets, Ace and Dex—get ordered and put in place: LABELS OUT.
Why labels out? It might seem a Susanna draconian measure, but with many different people in the barn, some staff, some interns, some volunteers, things have a hard time finding their rightful homes. I can’t complain if occasional helpers don’t know where things belong, but I can harp about turning labels out, so that finding MIA meds, shampoos, or products of any kind is easier to do. If you have ever worked in a grocery store, you know.
One of the reasons we delayed the arrival of horses by a week was because I was worried about a lack of water. I have found if I don’t drain the waterers come December, they freeze up solid. Not only that, the pipes below ground tend to rupture come the first thaw. So that means that horses can only get water in the barn. But anyone who has dealt with stall buckets in winter knows that they freeze up solid in record time. I was uneasy about our horses getting dehydrated. After all, when horses change environments, they tend to stress. When they stress, they drink less. If they drink at all; when water tastes “different” or “funny” from what they are used to many may avoid it. I didn’t need to kick off the season with a barnful of colicking horses! And I had no heated water buckets. At $27 to $30 a bucket, we’ve never been able to squeeze them into the budget. That’s where angels step in.
I have always said that God loves the Secretariat Center. I have had lots of of proof of that over the years — not knowing how things will work out, and worrying, and then something miraculous happens: a check arrives, a volunteer comes, the perfect adopter shows up, the angels step in.
In this case, the angels’ names are Tom and Enid, a couple in their venerable years who volunteer at the MMSC regularly. Tom likes to work outside and with the horses (although he has even done the lowest of the low chores for us—CLEAN THE KITCHEN REFRIGERATOR!!!!). Enid is whizz bang in the office. They show up with smiles. They bring boxes of chocolates. They are smart, funny, dedicated, and hardworking. They are interested in the MMSC because they have a grandson who lives out of state who loves horses. They are keen to learn. They read my blog.
Last week, in the barn up east where their daughter and grandson live, a horse colicked. Water buckets in stalls were frozen. My worries about MMSC and dehydrated horses and my request (in parentheses) for donated heated water buckets suddenly made sense to Tom and Enid. When they came to the MMSC this week, they brought a check to cover that cost. Bless them! Ask and you shall receive. It’s humbling.
Yesterday Shane, our landscape and handy man, came and adjusted the floats and plugged up the the paddock waterers. He had trouble finding the water valves to turn them on because of the snow, but he’ll be back tomorrow. The snow is melting and they should be in full view tomorrow.
Lilly, our barn manager, had a crew of interns and volunteers buffing every surface in the barn, cleaning tack, inventorying everything from hay bales to cleaning supplies.
Our communications interns were hard at work in the office — cleaning every interior surface both because we are officially bringing horses back and because we are having a board meeting on Tuesday.
Baby books for the incoming horses are prepped and ready to be filled with training notes and pictures. Blank training charts are ready on our clipboards. Potential adopters are scheduled to come before week’s end.
I can’t wait for the first van to come in tomorrow morning, discharging horses that I picked out some time ago. Horses that spoke to me in some way or another that I felt called to help find a new job and a happy home. And then there are the horses that were here last fall that have been in foster care for two months. I know them already and what their horsenalities are. They are reschooled and ready for their second career I just need for the right adopters to call. And as I said earlier, LET GO and LET GOD. Their people will come.
I can’t wait! More horses to help! More matches to make! It’s humbling. It’s exciting!
Let the stories begin!
Let the stories begin!
Why is salubrious highlighted?
Because it is the Blog Word of the Day:
Help us reach our goal of 112,000 total blog visitors this year! Join our Word of the Day contest and you could be entered in a grand prize drawing to win a $500 horse credit at the MMSC or a Breyer model of Secretariat signed by Secretariat’s jockey Ron Turcotte! Simply read the blog every Sunday and find the highlighted Word of the Day. Then write a sentence using the word and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be entered to win! Please read the full contest details below before submitting an entry.