I Believe in Horse Manure
I believe in horse manure. It reminds me of hard work.
As an undergraduate at Penn State, I was a live-in student at the Penn State Horse Barns. The manual labor of cleaning stalls, taking care of a sick horse, or even helping to deliver a newborn foal at 3 am were all part of my duties as a student living in the barns. Even though I was in the College of Communications, I was excited to take part in the rich tradition of the Penn State equine program.
My apartment was right next to one of the stalls in the horse stables. The door to my room was in the middle of the barn hallway. I liked living with the horses as my neighbors.
On a typical day, I’d wake up in the early hours of the morning. I could hear the whinnying animals as they waited for me to feed them. I’d put on my tall rubber muck boots and head out to brave any weather conditions.
After the horses got their grain, it was time to take them out for exercise. In the pasture, I took off the horses’ halters and let them loose. I loved watching as they turned quickly and took off running, bucking, squealing and kicking.
Tending to the horses was the fun part of my day. Next came the less glamorous work. I’d get the big tractor with the manure spreader behind it and clean the stalls. My job was to drive through the barn with a pitchfork and shovel and remove all of the soiled straw. Most people wouldn’t enjoy this work, but I did. I found it somehow therapeutic. The hard work was rhythmic. Cleaning the stalls helped to clear my head.
With the manure spreader completely full, I’d drive the big green tractor down Park Avenue. I dropped the horse manure off at the Penn State Mushroom Center. Horse manure is helpful to the environment. It’s a waste product, but it’s also a renewable resource that can be used to help grow new things. I liked to think the manure worked just as hard as I did.
At the end of the day, I would bring the horses back into the barn. They were usually tired from their day outside. Sometimes, they were muddy and wet from playing in the field. I relished every moment of cleaning and taking care of them. It always felt like a day well spent.
My time in the horse barns taught me working hard did not have to be unpleasant. I enjoyed working hard for the horses and I plan to enjoy hard work in all of my jobs. It may not be as physical, but I work hard at my current job as an intern in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
I believe in horse manure because it taught me about hard work.