Predictably unpredictable

horses grazing
Once my horses were turned out 24/7 with access to grass and hay, they stopped worrying so much about when they were fed.

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.

One thought on “Predictably unpredictable

  1. Yup… Both where I work (20-30 horses) and where I board (5-6, including my two) are on that sort of schedule. All horses on both farms live out 24/7, and have constant access to grass and/or hay. I’m generally there the same time every day, but if I’m an hour or two late no one is panicking, fretting, or running up and down the fenceline. Much healthier on several fronts!

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