Saturday, March 12, 2016

It's a Good Day to Be a Horse

“It’s a good day to be a horse!” I sang to my girls this morning.  There was promise in the air.  Mist rising over the cedar grove, warm breeze, birds singing a Spring song. What’s not to love?   When I opened the stall doors, Siete shot out like a firecracker and took a few joyful laps around the pasture. It’s frisky weather, for sure.

It may not sound like much, but my greatest recent accomplishment has been to round out Silk’s butt.  When the temperatures fell this winter, Silk began to dramatically lose weight, as older horses often do.  Her full Quarter Horse bottom suddenly hollowed out and her spine showed, and I got really freaked out.  I added hay stretcher pellets to her diet, but I knew that I needed to do something more.  When our dear friend, Grandmother Nancy, lost her wonderful 33-year old companion, Solitaire aka Spanky, in January, she gave me four bags of a very special food that Spanky had loved called “Pure Hunter” (made by Babington Mills).  She explained how to make up a warm porridge for Silk. 

I improvised a few additions that I knew my horse would appreciate, like adding a scoop of Triple Crown senior feed, a teaspoon of molasses and a sprinkling of chopped carrots.  The Pure Hunter looks like a finely chopped salad that expands and gets much heavier as you add water to it. It smells so good.  Even though Siete doesn’t need to gain weight, I also created a “lite” version for her dinner.

Silk wolfed it down, but it took her quite a while to finish off the bucket. Her daughter got jealous that Mama was still eating long after she had finished. She began banging against the wall of the stall that separates them, so I came up with a special dessert for Siete.  I made a “tea” of warm water and a small scoop of senior feed that I presented to her with great ceremony after she finished her food.  Getting her to drink a whole bucket of water was a really good idea since she doesn’t drink nearly as much as her mother, and during the last month, when the temperatures fluctuated wildly up and down, keeping the horses well hydrated was important. Now, Siete eagerly slurps down her “tea” each night.

The other day, when it was warm enough to pull off their blankets, I was delighted to see how full and round my darling old red mare looked. Her mane and tail are also really lush and lovely. As I carried out the dinner buckets, Silk showed off with two galloping circles and a couple of flying lead changes in the pasture before she leaped over the ditch by the corral and pranced into her stall. She was moving like a five year old. Hmm, I wonder if I can add some Pure Hunter to my salad tonight.

I have certainly learned another good lesson from my horses:  You are what you eat.


Lori Skoog said...

Glad you found something that works. She looks terrific. Have you ever fed soaked (so they expand and are easy to digest) beet pulp to your horses? Good for so many reasons.

Anu Suomalainen said...

Well done! Nice to hear you found a way to keep her in good condition. Greetings from Finland; we still have the best time of the winter ahead of us here.

C-ingspots said...

Older horses are so very special...dear to my heart for sure. Very happy to hear that you've found a recipe that she approves of and is obviously doing her much good!! For my older gal, who will be 32 the end of May this year, is 3rd cutting alfalfa which is very leafy. She gets 1 good-sized flake each evening, along with plenty of grass hay and a couple pounds of Purina Equine Senior. So far - so good! And plenty of fresh air and exercise to keep her sassy... :)

Victoria Cummings said...

Thanks, Everyone! I have tried beet pulp but the Triple Crown senior feed has that in it, so I stopped giving her extra. And yes, alfalfa is good - Silk gets a flake at bedtime too. I used to avoid alfalfa with my horses because it made them so hot, but now as they grow older, I like to give them the extra protein and I don't mind the friskiness - in fact, I love it. 32 years old - I love to hear that! The elders have so much to teach us. They are very special.

Diane said...

There is a time for everything, one day your daughter may long to return to the quiet churn of country living. With all that shoveling, horse care & barn chores, there is no need for a gym membership! And what could be a better way to greet the day than hearing the nicker of a beloved horse? (Or two)