What Is It Really Like? Part I
I am contacted on a regular basis by people who are interested in starting a retirement farm, or by people who are kind enough to mention that I happen to have their dream job. I’ve mentioned a time or two hundred in this blog that I happen to really like what I do every day. So what are the days like?
Most days start and end the same way and in some ways there is quite a bit of repetition in the daily tasks. First thing in the morning everyone on the farm is fed breakfast. This is actually the biggest job of the days as mornings are when we also include any supplements and medications that need to be top-dressed on the feed and that takes extra time. Most of the horses live outside 24/7 with only a few horses in the barn at any given time.
I always start in the barn and give the horses in stalls hay and then feed them breakfast. Then I prepare the feed for the two pastures closest to the barn. Each horse has a feedbag with their name on it as the horses obviously don’t all eat the same feed, amounts of feed, etc. First I scoop the feed directly into the feedbags, and then for the horses that need their feed soaked I put the feedbags into buckets of water to soak. After the feed has soaked then I go back and add supplements, medications, etc.
The horses are then fed in the field with the feedbags. Feeding is easy as the horses have their established order, and you simply put the feedbags on in the same order each time. They don’t really get worked up as it takes about two seconds per horse to put the feedbags on and within a minute or so of walking into the pasture everybody is happily eating. They learn quickly that no one can steal their food and they can’t steal food from anyone else, and they will happily stand there and eat nose to nose. Another great thing about the feedbags is they eat with their noses down on the ground in the natural position in order to pick up the feed in the bag.
We do stand there with them while they are eating as when they are done they walk over to the trough and take a drink. That part is fine as the bags have mesh sides so they can dunk their noses in the trough and drink, and when they lift their heads the water just runs out the mesh side. The problem is when they are finished drinking they leave to resume grazing so you need to be standing their ready to remove the feedbags when they are done, otherwise you are chasing them down through the pasture. I usually feed two pastures with neighboring gates at a time.
Well, I’ve already typed multiple paragraphs and I haven’t even gotten through breakfast yet. It is amazing how easy it is to talk on and on about yourself, good thing I have my own blog! To be continued . . .