‘Tis spring and therefore time to let the horses out onto the “big” pastures. I think most people have visions of horses grazing in lush acres wide pastures in their imagination. Obviously, they are not from western New York. Here, if you let your horses out on your pastures year round, all you will have is cuppy, weed ridden, clay lots. So the alternative is to have “sacrifice” paddocks that you know are going to be destroyed and ugly. Then part of the year, you can turn your horses out onto lush (for a brief period) pastures to graze themselves into fat little beach balls with legs.
Of course, this is very exciting for the horses. Its a pain in the derriere for the humans. This is because horses are the creatures that evolution forgot. Remember the horse that you are investing a good chunk of your hard earned money into – it can die of a stomach ache. This means that after some preparatory hand grazing, the horses can go out for an hour before we have to chase them back in. In case you have not noticed, horses are faster than humans. The first night is not so bad. The herd has run around making celebratory laps at full tilt for the first twenty minutes. After which, they are hot, tired, and want an escape from the evening bugs. The second night is a different story – they ate first and now on a much cooler windier night, they are now ready to run. This is when you send your husband out to bring them all in on his own. You take a pile of admiring boarders up on the first night to bring their own horses in. Not only does this provide a great cardio workout for five former track horses and one egomaniac Morgan, but it is also an excellent workout for said husband. Sometimes, you just have to test your marriage.
The fat draft horses are exhausted from traversing the pasture and meet you at the gate, hoping you will tuck them into their stalls where they won’t have to worry about getting any exercise. Since the drafts all belong to the husband and the wife is blamed for the OTTB’s, regardless of ownership, you can figure out how that works out in the evening conversation.