This mare doesn't mind having a wheelbarrow pushed under her belly during daily barnyard games at my house.

Barnyard Olympics

Does it ever feel like just completing your daily chores in the barn requires athletic talent? It often does at my house. The critters like to gang up on me on days when they are bored as they try to make my job of taking care of them more challenging. If I’m not hurdling over a barn cat that happened to scamper across my path, I’m dodging a frisky miniature horse.

Most days, all that is required to outsmart the barn gang’s game of the day is a few quick movements to dodge them or forethought to hopefully avoid situations where I’m working around them at all. I often try to feed the cats before I have to maneuver through the barn too much, and I try to turn the mini horses out before I clean their stalls. Usually that is all that is required to make it through my daily chores unscathed unless my draft mare, Julie, decides to join the little stinkers in their fun.

Julie usually ignores the little ones of all species as they try to create havoc in barn. She usually just munches on her breakfast and sighs as the cats and minis and I spar back and forth to determine the winner of the daily game. For some reason, maybe the harsh winter, Julie decided to join the barn crew in the fun this Spring.

Her game of choice was wheelbarrow blocking. I always fill the wheelbarrow and then roll it into her lot and past her to dump it just on the other side of her gate in the manure pile. This well-mannered mare decided she could get more attention if she pretended not to notice me coming and forced me to stop every morning and spend several moments convincing her to move out of the way.

One morning, Julie was feeling especially ornery and decided she wasn’t moving. Now I’m sure if I had pressed the matter into a more physical altercation that she would have moved, but I knew that she was just having fun and not being malicious so I really didn’t want to punish her for her lack of compliance. I thought about it for only a second and then I just decided to just push the wheelbarrow right underneath of her belly and through to her other side. I wasn’t brave or stupid enough to follow it under her belly myself so I just darted around her and then pushed the wheelbarrow to my destination.

Julie just stared at me. She never moved a muscle. She knew I had outsmarted her and she hasn’t declined to move out of my way since then. It did get to me to wandering, though, what other athletic and mental exercises others go through as they try to complete their daily chores in their barns. Anybody have any good stories?

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