Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hay Nets

dIn my last year of high school I got a summer job managing the pony ride at a local amusement park. The 60+ hour work week was grueling for both me and the ponies, but it paid much more than $500/summer. I actually kept that job throughout my undergraduate degree because it also paid more than good summertime engineering positions (especially because I was living with my generous parents in Toronto instead of paying rent in Vancouver). Most other ride managers were university students working hard to support their educations, and we had a lot of fun in our scarce spare time.

The pony ride had 10 - 12 ponies that I would rotate as fairly as possible (never fairly enough). When not working they lived in a paddock at the petting zoo along with an insane zony (a zebra crossed with a pony) and an ornery zonkey (you do the math). To maximize efficiency while minimizing wastage I fed them all by hanging 6 - 8 stuffed hay nets around the paddock each morning and evening. When you multiply this by six days per week, 12 weeks per year for 5 years you might believe my claim to being the fastest hay netter in the west (this lady is doing it wrong).

We are using hay nets to minimize wastage in the shelter*, and I think of my ponies every time I fill them. Some of them were with me every summer (the picture above was taken long after my time in 2005, but the bay is Bubba who I trained in 1998 when he was 4), and that job gave me an immense respect for the pluck and personality of the little guys (they were all geldings). One day I would like to give an old pony a retirement home, in honour of their hard work for me over the years.

*The horses love the shelter again. David is convinced that they are just messing with my head, and I am beginning to believe him. Either way, Tom is coming out on Wednesday to put crusher dust around the whole thing, and to make a path up from the south end of the paddock.


Black Jack's Carol said...

If my "gym mat" comment didn't assure you that my brain works in weird ways, this one will clinch it. The most intriguing part of your post came with the "you do the math" suggestion. I never was good at math, so I had a feeling I was coming up with the wrong answer with zonkey. With only two animals that I can think of right now ending with the letters "onkey", trust me to think of the wrong one. I was a little worried that you stayed for as long as you did at that amusement park, but fortunately ran it by Bill. He set me straight, and I'm still chuckling. (Better that than the alternative:)

I'm relieved for you that Raven and Tonka are again happy in the shelter. And a bonus idea to improve the footing around it, so all good.

dp said...

I'm assuming that you came up with monkey, which is some pretty weird math (and science).

Brandy said...

Oh, my! Carol that made hubby and I chuckle! Although then my thought was "Owee! Owee!"

I can just picture a little old man pony in your pasture, that would be a wonderful memorial to all those great little monsters that helped you through college!

EvenSong said...

The ponies certainly look to be well taken care of! And a credit to whomever is responsible that Bubba is still plodding along at 14, with what appears to be a sweet attitude! What a cutie!

Zonies and Zonkeys and Penquins, OH MY!