Saturday, November 29, 2014
We move them to their home across the street when cold weather rears its head, our own pasture grass is depleted and the farmer switches his calves from the field to their winter barn. At the neighbors, my two plump horses have fifteen acres to graze, so though I visit every day to grain and check on them, I only need to feed hay when snow is on the ground. Even then, they pick at the hay. The grass is still green under the white blanket, and they much prefer digging through snow to get to it. (Unlike cattle that do not dig.) They have a stream that never freezes and a huge run-in shed big enough for ten horses so there is no biting and crowding each other. If I do want to ride, there's fifty acres to amble across. All this only costs me $50 a month for two. (Yes, I know how expensive boarding has gotten and I am very appreciative.)
The only tough time is when there is deep snow. But then I strap on my snowshoes and head over, stopping to pick up the neighbor's mail and shovel their walk. We've had blizzards where I've had to dig out the barn door, but except for that, it's super ideal in every way for human and horses. If I was a competitive rider who needed an indoor arena, this set up would not work. Alas, that was a long time ago. Now the dogs (in their coats) and I walk the fields each time I go over to grain the horses, which is an added bonus. Except for brushing burrs and checking for injuries, the horses are almost care-free. The only hitch is that the neighbors are getting older, and I worry that one day they will sell their farm to an 'outsider' who doesn't like our arrangement.
Until then I will be thankful for my winter horses and their great home. How's winter for your horses? Do you spend more time 'chipping' ice and slogging through mud and snow than riding?