Today we made the tough decision to move our horses off the farm temporarily. The goal was to find a place where we can safely ride them out of the weather and allow our pasture to recover. No doubt, the 2000 pounds of horse combined with the hardness of the hoof is tough on the land.
Luckily, we found two stalls at a nearby barn with an indoor arena. Unfortunately, we only get these stalls for one month. So, the next couple of weeks we will be in major horse-mode, attempting to make the most of being able to work with them out of the wind and wet. In addition, we hope the month will give our land a chance to recover (although it will probably need longer than that…). We also plan to spend some time rejuvenating the soil with raking and seeding. Our thought was this is a win-win for our farm and our horses.
However, as all things seem to go with horses… moving them did not prove easy. In near darkness we had pulled the trailer out on the road to load them up. After packing the truck with tack and feed, we brought the horses out. Our first horse, who does 4H and travels a bit more regularly, hesitated at first, but once she realized there was grain waiting for her in the trailer… eagerly sauntered in.
Our second horse, who has always been a bit trailer shy… climbed up the ramp and then refused to go further. I suspected this might happen, but hoped the grain and having a friend already settled in place might be enough encouragement. But alas, no such luck (and yes, my fault for not practicing more often!).
After about 10 minutes of attempting to get him past the two feet on the ramp, I made a quick decision to walk him over there instead of using the trailer. It was almost dark and if I waited much longer and he still didn’t go in… it would mean he was staying home. So, while my husband closed up the trailer, I headed off down our road to a trail that took us to the barn. We are lucky that this barn is close enough to walk… although usually we ride the horses there. Instead today, I got my exercise jogging my stubborn brut about half-a-mile to the barn where the rest of my family was waiting with one frustrated horse still in the trailer.
The rest of the move went quickly. Horses in their new stalls, fed, watered and lights off. We will be back many times over the next month to take advantage of the luxury of the indoor arena. But for today, one less task on the to do list…