Predictably unpredictable. That’s how I’d describe the feeding schedule at our barn. Yes, we have “windows” where we’d like the horses fed. In the mornings that would be anywhere from 7-9 and in the evenings between 5 and 6. But at a co-op barn where everyone has a life and lots of responsibilities, sometimes those windows are just a target.
I didn’t used to be so relaxed about feeding. I had grown up working at barns where the horses were fed at very set times and they were quite vocal if you were late. When I first started self care it drove me nuts if the horses didn’t get fed ’till 9 a.m. So what if we’d had a foot of snow?
Now I’m not so sure that having a set schedule is such a great idea. With the randomness imposed by our barn “staff” the horses have stopped anticipating and stopped worrying about when their next meal will show up. Okay, Curly still cares but she’s in the minority.
It helps that they horses no longer are stalled. A horse that’s contained is like a person on an airplane. You can’t wait for that meal because it gives you something to do. It also helps that we feed a lot of hay. When a horse eats all day, the need for the meal is diminished.
That’s not to say that the horses aren’t glad to see me when I show up in the morning to feed. I’m always warmly greeted by the herd. Early or late, they are always glad to see me.