Monday, January 2, 2012

An Abrupt Departure

We had planned for the Boyz to be home until this coming weekend, but 'twas not to be. I had been feeding them (a complete pelleted feed) at least twice a day and offering them timothy alfalfa, and they've been eating every bit of it for two days. Prior to that, they ate the feed but only picked at the alfalfa. They had the place pretty well eaten down, and to keep them here any longer would do more damage to the fragile land. It's not only a question of the land sustaining them (grazing), it's that the sparse ground can't take the pounding from their hooves, them rolling, etc. So we made a quick decision to take them back to Iron Ridge today, as it's the last day of staycation for both of us.

Wag your anti-anthropomorphism finger all day long, but Jaz knew and he did not want to get in that trailer. Contrast that to him walking right in when we were at the farm bound for here. Breaks my heart.
They are so obviously happy or content or relaxed here – whatever term you deem appropriate to describe such equine behavior.
Every horse I've ever brought here has reacted positively to the small herd/large open space, relaxed atmosphere.

Please don't read into these statements that my horses – or any horses – are not well cared for at the farm, because they are. It's just a completely different environment. I liken it to the department in which I used to work with 25 people in low-walled call center type cubicles. Now I work in an area where there are only 7 of us in the office full time and we're spread out in larger, high-walled cubicles. Words can hardly describe how much happier I am.

We're going to work on the land as best we can this year in the hope that the horses can come back to visit more often. Dear God, please send rain – lots of it.


cdncowgirl said...

I'm eternally grateful that we now have our horses at home.

Is your property large enough to set up at least 2 spaces to rotate the boys through?

AareneX said...

Well, I seem to have plenty of rain. Why not come for a visit and bring an extra suitcase or seven...?

Leah Fry said...

In theory, we could divide the property in half, but the pasture isn't good to start with. We couldn't keep them off one half long enough to let the other recover. If we did, the one they were currently on would be nothing but dust. We hope we can make it better by keeping them off of it entirely, weeding, seeding and feeding. But it will be a long haul regardless.

Aarene, sounds good to me :-)

Jeni said...

I know it was sooner then expected but know it's best for the future of your land.

I'd like to come down to visit - meet everyone - this summer but no idea if that's possible yet.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Too bad, but as you say the land needs the rest , and you know they are well cared for at Iron ridge. They probably enjoy the feedback one on one as much as you do

Laura said...

Too bad that they have to go back... I'm glad to hear that they were home for a while at least. I'm sure they preferred all the attention they got while they were back. Hope you guys get some rain to get the land back in shape for them soon.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Bummer. That's too sad. How much land do you have there? Could you section off some of it to make a dry lot?
We only have just over 3 acres here and 2 of it belongs to the horse, llamas, and goats. The llamas and goats are on a dry lot and the horse has a dry lot, with about 1/2 acre a semi-pasture area that never truly has any grass worth grazing. We must feed hay all year long here. Most people do because the little grass that does grow up here, only grows during our monsoon season in late July and August.

But I still can't imagine not having my horse, goats and llamas home. That's more important to me than watching my grass grow.

I am considering boarding my horse down in the valley, during the winter, so I can ride all year. We just get way too much snow up here.


Crystal said...

Too bad they had to go back sooner than was planned, but it sure is nice to know they enjoy being at home better.
I think my horses like being at home better than when I board as well, just more relaxing not so much activity going on.

Seindria said...

Here's hoping you get some good rain this year!

Leah Fry said...

Our land is dotted throughout with trees. The area directly behind the house is wooded. The trees provide shelter for them in summer and winter. Even when we feed hay all year round, if there's not grazing, they'll start chewing on the trees - leaves and bark - and eventually kill them (the trees, that is). The need to graze will be satisfied regardless.

I'm honestly okay with them splitting their time between Iron Ridge and here, but I would like to get the land to the point where we can have them home more often and for longer stretches. We're working on it. We are at the mercy of the elements.

C-ingspots said...

Sorry to hear that your boys had to leave so soon. :( I'd hate not having my horses at home where I can look at them whenever I want to, but hopefully they can come back again soon. Will keep all of Texas in my prayers for rain and lots of it! They do look like they enjoy each others' company! Hope your Christmas was nice and you have a wonderful New Year.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Sounds like you provide a peaceful, comfortable environment for you horses at home. But you are wise to care for the land too. We have a small pasture; probably 3 acres at the most. I can only let the horses graze for a couple hours a day and I take them off completely from about April to mid-June while the Spring grass is coming in. Then they are on dry lot with hay in their slow feeders. I wish we had more pasture for them, but they get used to the routine and seem pretty content.

I'm sure your horses will settle in quickly at Iron Ridge, and then enjoy returning home when the time is right. Lucky equines, it's like they have a winter home and a vacation home.

Unknown said...

They know. They definitely know.

Its been a good plan, splitting their time, but I know it's always bittersweet.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Oh gosh Yeaaaa...horses KNOW where HOME is.

When I used to have to haul my horses back to South Dakota (from wherever I was living at the time) to truly give them a break from being used or for real turn-out, I'd unload them from the trailer, they would look around and they would give a big, old sigh and just visibly 'let down'. They knew they were home and they knew they were back in a totally laid-back and relaxing environment.

It has taken over a year (and a lot of effort) to create the same kind of relaxed and comfortable environment for them on this 'new' place.

Leah Fry said...

LaTonne, I couldn't have said it better. When I first off-loaded Jaz, he'd take a few steps, stop, sigh, then do a little hop/trot, walk a few more steps, eat, sigh again.

I miss them already.

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