Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Horses

We moved to this property in September 2013 knowing nothing about horses.  Part of the agreement of our tenancy was to board 2 beautiful horses for the winter.  We spent most of last September watching them saunter from pasture to pasture, always amazed at their beauty and grace.  And when Danny would run...the thunder of his hooves pounding the ground.  Then finally the time came where they were put into our care - they were "our horses" now.  They came from the neighbors pastures to ours for their stay with us through the winter.  We made big beds of straw in their stalls, learned to pick their feet, gave them oats each morning and combed the burs out of their manes.  They are like big dogs these horses, you have to show them who is boss or they will push you around.  They are always lured by carrots and Danny is somewhat saucy, which both of us have learned being bopped on the head by him with his chin on one occasion each.
Last winter.

Our instructions for winter care were simple....bring them in every night once the temperatures hit below zero and put their coats on them if temperatures are below -10.  Feed them oats in the morning and a bale of straw in their stalls at night.  Keep the breezeway covered in manure so it doesn't ice up.
This fall.

  The first couple of times we brought them in with the lure of carrots and were amazed as they walked right into their stalls and waited while we closed the doors.  That was easy!  The next morning we fed them oats and let them out and they dutifully walked back outside and off into the pasture.  The next night they wouldn't come in.  We found them at the bottom of the pasture and no carrots or calling would bring them in.  So my husband got Rosie's halter and led her to the barn and Danny followed.  The night after that was the same story.  Then one night, after chasing them through the pasture - as they were wise to our methods by now - we just left them out.  And they survived!  But the weather was indeed getting colder and we certainly couldn't allow them to stay out overnight when it hit -10 and colder at night so we decided to switch their oats to a night time feeding.  And guess what - no more chasing horses.  We've learned a lot from these two along the way.  When I open the barn door there is a good chance Danny's face will pop down over the wall of his stall - and while it is startling I no longer scream when  he does it.  And that I really don't mind cleaning up horse manure...which is one that really surprised me.  And that when we lead them from pasture to pasture to keep the silly dog inside because he will make Rosie buck and scare the little girl leading her.  It's really all about the confidence with horses, they could easily pull us off our feet and drag us or mow us over with their size but a firm, confident grip on their lead and they will follow you anywhere.  And I'm so thankful for the experience.
Last night - Danny waiting for his evening oats.

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