The Horse Gourmet

The Horse Gourmet

By Susan Schiller

One of the joys of rural living is working from a home office where with a few clicks on your keyboard you can instantly be connected to nearly anyone on Planet Earth who has a decent internet connection. It does get a little lonely, at times though. It's not like anyone is likely to ask you out to lunch and the nearest Starbucks is a mere 100 miles away!

So you make friends with the furry people who surround your home. For us, in northwestern Montana, that meant four Walker Hound dogs, a mutt named Toby and a horse called Fire rounded out our 4-legged children who had arrived to fill our empty nest. In those days we never bought or shopped for animals… people would just drop them off at our house or give them to us.

Working from my home office I would type away on my computer right in front of a window that looked into our horse pen. Our thoroughbred horse had his morning routine, which included munching grass in front of my window with occasional glances in my direction. Sometimes he would wave his big brown head right into my window screen, and it was not uncommon for him to knock on the porch with his hooves!

Fire could be distracting, but in a peaceful stress-relieving way. I was never at a loss for smiles and giggles when Fire was close by, even if it was true he loved me for the food I gave him (I think). It always amazes me how a horse can delicately find the most scrumptious blades of grass while discarding the yucky stuff. Their lips are almost as dexterous as a human's fingers!

By noon I was ready for lunch and my favorite place to eat was on our front deck. Taking my sandwich outdoors, I would sneak in a few carrots and saltines for Fire, who always knew he was our favorite. It was not acceptable for me to be late for my lunch appointments, and if Fire's internal alarm clock fired off before I hit the porch, he would beat me to the door and knock on the steps with his large hooves, shod with heavy metal shoes!

Well, I wasn't late for lunch on this fine summer day… no. I was late for dinner! At 5 o'clock sharp Fire understood the routine. I was supposed to be outdoors, on the dot, filling dog bowls with high protein pellets and hosing water into their drinking pans. I had too many phone calls that day, because I was late for a very important date!

Fire, who had the run of our riverfront property in the mountains where there no neighbors and barely any traffic, decided to take matters into his own hooves! He knew the dogs must be fed first, and no one was taking care of business! Mischievously, he trotted over to the hound dogs, grabbed hold of the lid on the Rubbermaid dog food container, pulled it open and knocked it over. Using his big head, he rolled the food bin over to the dogs and allowed them to gorge on 25 pounds of food!

Next, Fire calmly walked over to his own food shed where I normally scooped out generous servings of alfalfa grain, corn, and oats. Waiting next to his shed, Fire simply trusted that now the dogs were taken care of, it was going to be his turn! And so it was…. losing 25-pounds of dog food was worth the trouble as we all laughed until we cried. Laughter is a great source of healing and stress-relief! And this was a story that we have retold dozens of times, and we always get a good chuckle!

There are stories everywhere we look, if we take time to notice the little details of creation all around us. If we pause to listen and to watch, the world is full of humor and adventure.

I hope this story inspires you to share your own story about a favorite pet. Please share your story with us in the comment section below!

Cheers to your best real life,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate her way out of hell to a rich and satisfying life. In her lifetime, Susan has served in duties ranging from home school mom – to pastor –  to full-time deliverance minister – and to Midwest regional prayer coordinator for a large international ministry. These days you can usually find Susan soaking in her favorite hot springs pool, reading a book (or several), blogging, baking bread, or hanging out with her family and friends. You can get a free copy of Susan's upcoming book, "On the Way Home" by registering here.

Copyright 2013, Susan Schiller, Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline and bio, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Olga Hermans July 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm

When we lived on a farm in Alberta we had horses, cows and dogs; it was a totally different lifestyle and I always enjoyed it. I didn't grow up with animals when I was young, so the time that I lived in Alberta were quite adventurous for me. Thanks Susan for your great article!!


Susan McKenzie July 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Hi Olga,

I didn’t grow up on a farm either, so I do appreciate all the more my years living in the wilderness. I’m no longer there but it will always be home!

Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


Jessica Stone July 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Susan ~ I knew I felt an immediate connection to you that I couldn't explain.  Of course, we have a life of horses in common.  Unfortunately, since having children, we've had to step away from the life a bit, however, I'm certain they will have a presence in our family as the kids get older.  I grew up riding a Thoroughbred and a Morgan / Arabian.  They were our precious stress-relievers and joy-bringers!  I know very well about those feeding times and had to laugh ready this.  Ah, it brings back the memories.  Thanks for sharing your adventures with us… it's a fun read!


Susan McKenzie July 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

There’s just something about horses and children and families… especially children with special needs!


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