A (Tack) Room of One’s Own

(With apologies to the spirit of Mrs. Woolf.)

In my last-but-one post I wrote about the gargantuan task of clearing out the top of the barn and laying a new floor over the old one.  And I’m glad to report the job is finished, the junk has been cleared, the stairwell down to the stables has been boxed in (and the stairs repaired) and the horses now have a much tidier, dust-free environment.

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The knock-on bonus for me is that a grotty, dark, cubby-hole under the stairwell, where we used to stash all the gardening tools and equipment (do plastic plant-pots multiply if left on their own in the dark?) has become my first-ever, dedicated tack room.

Ta Daa!!

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Instead of bits and bobs tucked away in cupboards and boxes all over the place and never to hand when you need them, I now have a neat, clean space where everything has its place.  And, oh, how very satisfying that is.

(Some of the gardening kit remains behind the curtain, but it has been dusted and put on shelves, promise).

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In a world where the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse seem to be riding ever closer each time you can bear to be beaten over the head by the news reports, sometimes the only way to keep sane is to organise and feel in control your own little corner of the planet.  There must be a psychological term for it.  Cocooning?  OCD?  Any suggestions…?

And as the weather cools and the sunshine sparkles as it did around 10 this morning – the clocks having gone back last night –  we are getting into the right frame of mind to make the most of the cooler season.

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The Pie, at 28, is under strict surveillance for signs of ageing that we can relieve in any way.  As his main problem is a touch of arthritis in his hips and shoulders, he is presently undertaking the Cucurma Challenge.  Having followed discussions on various forums and read scientific data, we decided to go with a gradually increasing tea to coffee-spoonful of turmeric, with a few twists of freshly ground black pepper and a good glug of omega-rich oil mixed into his usual ration of pelleted grain with apples and carrots (and figs – we have also just come to the end of fig season to the great regret of the horses).

So far, after about a month, his mobility is good, but not miraculously improved, however the most noticeable side-effect is ….. you can guess ….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…… they call him “Mellow Yellow” 🙂

Of course, Mr. Matinee Idol had to get his picture taken too once he spotted the camera.

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So this is a time of farewells.  The tourists and the flies (no relation) have largely disappeared with the excessive heat – yay!  Ice-cream is out (but chocolate is in) treat-wise.  Sandals, shorts, suntan cream (yuck) are thankfully back in the cupboard, and the garden furniture is being put away.

And when these guys fly over, crying “grue, grue” (which is French for crane – both the avian and construction varieties) and my birthday is just around the corner, we know it’s time to buckle down to winter with a relieved sigh.

Going….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Going ….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Still going …

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Just about ….. gone.   Au revoir!

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About cavaliereattitude

Englishwoman, transplanted to SW France in '86, blogging - with a large dose of humour and self-deprecation - about life with my husband and our horses, the never-ending renovation of an ancient and crumbly stone farmhouse and the attempt to carve a beautiful garden and productive pasture out of a woodland wilderness.........
This entry was posted in Horses, Living in France, Musings, Rural Living, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to A (Tack) Room of One’s Own

  1. Pingback: A (Tack) Room of One’s Own | Latest News

  2. Anna Blake says:

    What an incredible line of geese…so beautiful.
    My personal Serenity Prayer involves a tack room too. Nice to have that haven, but your old barn is so lovely with all the wood. I can almost smell your tack room from the photos and it smells good! The horses look strong, living with you agrees with them, especially Pie. You have had a productive year…and on to the birthday… Act up a little. It makes teenagers nervous. Wishing you a peaceful winter in the barn.

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  3. Thank you for the lovely comment, Anna. You got me thinking – the tack room hasn’t got that special smell yet. (Looks better than it smells!) Must get the saddle soap out and give all the tack a good clean, though I won’t be doing that on my birthday!

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  4. subodai213 says:

    Oh, my…what a nice tack room. Oh, heck, what am I saying, I love your entire barn.

    And the cranes……my gosh, I love them. I only wish we could see them here in the US flying overhead in such numbers. We have two species: whooping cranes (highly endangered, but recovering slowly) and Grus canadensis, better known as the sandhill crane. There are two subspecies, the lesser and greater sandhill. In March, if you go to Nebraska, you can see hundreds of thousands of them. It’s incredible.
    They’re probably one our our favorite birds. We even put a picture my husband took of a pair on our camper (caravan)

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  5. Hi Michelle, I thought you’d like the cranes! When we first heard, then saw them, they were flying low enough to make out more detail than usual, but by the time I’d scrambled for the camera they were on their way. Some years we see waves and waves of them, but I think they’ve gone now; winter’s definitely on the way.
    Yesterday, unusually, we had a hen pheasant pottering tamely round the garden. I miss my cats, but since we built ponds in the garden the burgeoning bird life is wonderful to watch.
    It’s taken a very long time and a lot of labour, but, since Cando insisted on being stabled overnight (Rox and Serin preferred to stay out when younger) what was a mess of storage for tools, wood, building materials and old junk has now been transformed into a wonderful, “proper” horse barn! I’m thrilled with it – so lucky we had such a beautiful building to work with. Hope all’s well with you and yours and are you still getting to spend time with Raven?

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    • subodai213 says:

      Aggh, it’s been a very busy summer. I’ve had to change over from Word Press to Blogger, and that’s been simmering on a back burner since. Raven has been lame since moving to the new barn, only just got that fixed up (he forgets he’s 20 and a gelding…he thinks he’s still a 3 year old stallion, and went about showing the new horses that he really Still Had What It Takes..and hurt his left fore in the process.). Now his right hind hoof is breaking off into pieces..hence he’s on restriction again. Such hoof damage comes from three things: the farrier, nutrition, or disease. I am convinced it’s no. 1…Sue’s former farrier was a nice man, but……..I think he buggered Raven’s feet up badly. But I can’t say anything, nor am I farrier myself, so……..
      But otherwise, he’s his lovely self, as is Sue. So we’ll see. I must get back to blogging, but we had an unusually long, hot summer and we took full advantage of it, going out camping four times.
      And thank you for the crane photos. Even long distance, I do love them so.

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  6. Elaine L says:

    I think the sign of a true horseperson is how tidy and clean they keep their barn and yard.When we built our barn I knew I wanted a long narrow tack room (8×16) and it worked well for 15yrs. To the north we hung the saddles and bridles, on the other side we built shelves the whole length to hold all the grooming tools, meds, supplements etc., and at the end, under the window were the grain bins. Grooming hooks were hung from the ceiling in the middle of the aisle. I loved cleaning that tack room like no room in the house!! It was a joy to walk in and see everything neat and orderly, not to mention available when needed without having to hunt.
    PS: I noticed Pie’s stall door has large squares in the front. You might want to add another board across or screen the inside so he can’t catch a hoof.

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    • Great to hear from you Elaine; only yesterday I was wondering out loud to Eric how you were getting on! (He always remembers the lovely pics of Windprint and Dini.) I so agree about having a clean and tidy barn and tackroom. It frees you to concentrate on the important things when the routine is well organised and quicker to do.
      I feel the same about my workroom; a tidy desk makes work easier to get down to. Just don’t check under the sofa for dustballs 🙂
      You’ll be pleased to know that, just out of shot, the stable door is solid at the bottom. I like the pallett construction for general aeration of the boxes, but the Pie is an enthusiastic door kicker pre-mealtimes, so the kick board is sound advice!

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      • Elaine L says:

        Unfortunately, I no longer have my Leo, Dini, or Windprint Farm. Leo’s arthritis was getting the best of him, so in 2012 we sold the farm and moved to sunny Florida. We bought a home in a gated retirement community, shipped Dini down and boarded him at a lovely farm only 10 mins away. Thank God both my sisters live in the community only half a mile from me, because Leo ( he was only retired for one year) suddenly died on March 10, 2014; Dini went a few months after. My whole life is topsy turvy at this time: At 63 I am living alone, have gone back to work and bought a lovely Gypsy Vanner/WB 5 yr old black and white pinto mare that I am training for the dressage/trail classes. I miss my husband, Dini, and the farm more than I can say. I have a huge hole in my life and my heart left by the loss of them.

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      • I was so very sorry to hear about you losing both Leo and Dini after your move to Florida and can only imagine and sympathise with the depth of your loss. I do hope the Gypsy mare helps you carry on and bring a new equilibrium to your life in an absorbing, fulfilling way and that you will keep in touch and let me know how you and she get on. The boys and I send you lots of good, positive wishes.

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  7. Haynet says:

    Hey your blog is Haynet’s Blog of the Day! Come and take a look: http://www.hay-net.co.uk/haynet-news/7436/equestrian-blog-of-the-day-cavalire-attitude Haynet is a big fan of turmeric with amazing results on my 20 year arthritic ex showjumper. Brilliant spice!

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    • Thank you Haynet, I’ve left a message on the site – it’s a lovely birthday presy to me for Saturday! As I said, using the turmeric was largely down to you and other Haynet members – it’s my favourite site for a friendly, supportive exchange of views and info. Long may you continue 🙂

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  8. subodai213 says:

    Congratulations on Blog of the Day from Haynet! That’s as big a thing as being Freshly Pressed…good for you!
    As for keeping barns/tack rooms clean…well, I feel the same way. A clean, tidy tack room/barn shows that attention is being paid to detail, and by inference, so are the inhabitants. There’s a certain pride involved, and if my enemies call me Anal because I insist on cleanliness and neatness, I’ll wear it. I’ve been in too many barns where the place is a hideous tangle of bales of decades old hay, of dust covered saddles, moldy tack, baling twine festooned everywhere, “I have his grooming kit around here somewhere’ and the place just generally looking like a pigless pigsty, it’s no place I want to keep a horse.

    On the other hand………..my PC is on my workdesk in our ‘office’. It’s an absolute mess. I used to say I was deskmessy because I’ve got so much on my plate, or that I knew where everything is, but that would be lying. So I’ll retreat to my favorite excuse…a clean desk is the sign of a simple mind. I hope no one takes offense at that!! 😉

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  9. Oooh …. interesting comment! I think I feel another post a-brewing ……
    Seriously, do get back to blogging, Michelle. I’ve missed reading you 🙂

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  10. subodai213 says:

    Thank you, my friend, and now that the rains have set in in earnest, I will probably get back to blogging. Our summers are usually so very short, this one was a lovely surprise.

    Elaine L, I do not know you, but you will be okay. It is never easy to lose even one thing you love, to lose three at the same time is so very difficult and painful.
    You have taken many good steps…even though you may hate having to do so, going back to work was smart (and lucky…there’s little work to be found ANYWHERE in the US), getting a new horse, but most importantly, sharing your pain. By telling others, it helps you lessen the burden.
    I cannot console you as well as you may need, but I can assure you, your heart is broken into little pieces right now, but I’ve learned: you will grow a new one. You will. And also realize that though Leo and Dini aren’t ‘there’, they really are. They are right beside you, along with others you have loved and lost.

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    • Elaine L says:

      Thank you so much for your comforting words. It was wonderful of you to reach out to a stranger. Right now I have bad days and not so bad days, but I know someday the good ones will return. Right now Mena (short for Menabilly) fills my mornings and work my evenings. I will keep you all posted of Mena’s training progress. I had a custom made saddle from Scotland ordered for her and it arrives next week. Then the real training begins.

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      • subodai213 says:

        They will. I went through something a bit similar, with bad times coming in a trio…divorce, loss of my horse, and losing my job. I likened it to ‘crying an ocean’ and I swam that ocean a million times. But one day I realized that..my gosh, I was feeling better. Of course, I threw myself back into the ocean, but the ‘dry on land’ days came more and more often, til finally I am back to happiness and joy.
        What you are in, right now, is the Village of DAGBA…Denial, Anger, Grief, Bargaining, and Acceptance. Every one goes through that village and stops at different huts, but eventually..eventually, you do exit it through Acceptance.
        And finally…don’t be afraid. You will be okay.

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