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Living with Horses

by Ronnie Kellner

posted: Nov 6, 2007

Buying a Horse Barn was the most Spontaneous thing this "city girl" has ever done! We were “City slickers” living near downtown Montreal, Canada. Our front yard was so tiny it did not need a lawn mower. We could cut the grass with scissors. We would wake up each morning at a decent time, mosey on down to the corner café, pick up a croissant and an espresso, bring it home and relax on the balcony, read the newspaper, watch the people go by. It was a really easy life…. So, why did we move? I guess you can call it… Serendipity!

I have always loved horses. But like most people I did not get a chance to ride often. I felt that it was beyond reach, a fantasy, a dream that could never be a reality. I believed that only the lucky and the wealthy had horses. Then a magical thing happened. My husband (John) suggested we go to visit his friend’s horse in St. Lazare. I could not believe my eyes. Practically every house had a barn and a corral. And these were ordinary people…like you and me…and they were living in paradise.

A week later we were looking at property and soon after that we bought our new home - a horse ranch, here in St. Lazare. So we sold our row house, packed up our office and became Horse People. Sure, it was a steep learning curve. But we're still standing! Now I want to share my experiences with you!

I think that we lived on adrenalin our first winter on the ranch. Carrying out full water buckets to the horses every day (We have daily turnout) The water would slosh about in the wheelbarrow, most of the time it would spill out onto our clothing. At minus 20º, that was mighty cold!! During the day I would go out with a hammer and an old spaghetti strainer to break a hole in the ice of the water buckets so the horses could drink. The rope gates also would freeze and shrink so I would have to bounce up and down on them before unlatching each one. (We will discuss the dangers of rope fencing at a later date) We did a lot of ranch work in our first summer. We built and painted new wood corrals (10 of them). We put down sand and a drainage pipes so the horses feet would stay nice and dry. We bought giant metal feeding units. They weighed 500 lbs each. We ground down sharp edges, painted them white and installed them in each corral. We bought a cool retractable ladder with which to climb up to the hay loft from inside the barn. We built an addition to the barn where our boarders could eat lunch, hang out and shoot the breeze in comfort. We even added water buckets on outside wall so that visiting horses could have a drink too. We call it the Wild Spirit Saloon. Our boarders enjoy it. But we have no time to sit - because of so much ranch work!

Now you know a little about me, I want to know about you too. I will be contributing horse related articles each week. If you have a funny horse story, send it in, got some good tips and short-cuts in everyday horse barn work. Share them!

Ronnie Kellner has a website called