07 July 2007

All the dogs live in pens.

Jacinto is the laborer that works on our ranch, feeding and cleaning stalls on 60 horses, blanketing and unblanketing about 40 of them and driving hay out twice a day to the pasture horses, about 30 horses in 8 or so pastures. Every day, 7 days per week. He also works at the owner's other ranch up on the summit, and her mom's ranch on an adjoining summit property. He starts at 4 or so am, and comes back at around 5 to do the rest of the feeding and blankets. He doesn't speak a word of english, and has his perfect manner 3 boys translate for him. They help him too, as does his wife Berta, who also takes care of the owner's 1 year old baby.

Does that sound like a lot? It's pretty crazy. One guy cleaning and feeding on 60 horses right there is a huge job. He doesn't have to do much other than that besides sweep up the barn aisle with a leaf blower, but it's big job for one guy. He doesn't always do a good job either, some days the stalls pretty much look untouched, but I just can't get too mad at him. His boys are the best, they are 9, 11 and 12, and have perfect manners, are sweet, and sometimes ride. They love dogs too, and love to play with the dogs when I let them out. Their hope is that some day my dogs will let them pick them up. I don't know what it is about tiny dogs that some people get obsessed with picking them up. Ruby just plain old hates to be held by anyone. Otterpop is very picky, I am thinking that the middle boy is almost there with her. They each have their own skinny little dog.

They recently moved to a 1 bedroom travel trailer on the property. Jacinto, Berta, and the boys all live in a 1 bedroom trailer with their dogs out in a little pen under the trees in the back. Berta stuck a bunch of flowers in buckets and put them on the front steps. The boys ride their bikes around on the ranch and hop on ponies when they can. I give them lessons sometimes, the two older boys are actually talented and natural riders so it's great to get them on horses as much as they'll ride. Luckily they are in summer school (they don't think it's so lucky) but it keeps them from having to work all day I think.

Their dad uses them to translate everything. He doesn't want to deal with anyone's janky spanish. So one day when I wanted to talk to him about trying to get the pee out of the stalls (he just flies thru there, scoops poop, and leaves the stalls really wet) too many days in a row, I just hated doing this through his son. Just doesn't seem right to bring an 11 year old into the whole thing that his dad does a bad job because he's overworked and underpaid. They do a lot of the blanketing too. One customer was complaining because her horses's blanket straps weren't right, and I told her to let it go. There are just some battles we're not picking here.

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