Saturday, October 10, 2009

Morning Breakfast Routine

It's a chilly day in the neighborhood and we awoke to a fresh layer of frost and overcast skies.

Baby Ponderosa Pine

Misty and Marley were eagerly awaiting breakfast. They have a rigid routine they follow every morning. They stare at the house, using their combined mental powers to lure me out.

"Come feed us. Come feed us."

Then as soon as I step outside and begin walking toward the barn, Marley rushes directly into his stall and waits to be served, while Misty invariably does one leisurely lap around their paddock before strolling into her stall. It never fails; she always does that one lap.

Each horse gets fed in their own stall and I open the paddock gate so they can have access to the dry lot all day. Marley gets a couple pounds less hay than Misty and he eats much faster than she does. So as soon as Marley cleans up his hay, he goes right into Misty's stall and together they finish her hay. She is the Alpha horse and could easily chase him away, but she is a kind mare and is happy to share with her little pig-boy pony pal. We've managed well with this situation for a year and they both maintained a healthy weight, but Marley has packed on the pounds lately. I think I let him have too much time in the pasture without his grazing muzzle.

This morning, I closed Misty's stall doors so Marley can't get in there. I also had to lock the door latches so Marley can't work them open. He's clever that way and has actually taken a stall door off its hinges.

It's been suggested that I divide their paddock into separate runs, but I really don't want to do that. It's a small enough paddock already and Misty & Marley get along so well and like to groom each other and spend the night together in Misty's over sized stall. I hate to take that freedom away from them.

But I have to get Marley's weight down because we know that can lead to serious health problems in our equines.

The Gluttonous Pony is going to be a little cranky on his diet and I'll be running back and forth to the barn more to let Misty out of her stall.

What is your morning horse care routine?


  1. I walk to the barn - it's about 200 yards from my house - feed 11 horses in their stalls, and then turn them out to pastures - depending which pastures they are in, that can take up to an hour (and no, our barn and pastures aren't well-arranged), or more if there are rainsheets or in rare cases winter blankets involved. Then I make up the feed for the next day. All in all, it takes about 2 hours on most days, and I get a lot of walking and horse time. It's the best part of my day!

  2. Because I share a private barn with a friend of mine we split the duties. Since she rents the house on that goes with the barn and 5 acres of pasture (which I can rent separate as I am good friends with the property owner) she does morning feed and cleans two of the four stalls.

    I have night duty and the other two stalls. We feed each horse in their own stall. Then turn back out after feeding. No one stays in a stall except to feed or unless weather is horrible.

  3. First thing in the morning they all get fed, then it's straight out to pasture for the day unless someone is getting ridden. They spend the day outside all day every day. In the winter of course there are blankets to be dealt with...So we have a pretty easy routine to follow.

    I wouldn't separate them by a fence in the middle. Just let the little fatso wear a grazing muzzle during the day. That should slow him down and take it off at night, until he reaches the weight you want.

    Our little Sami eats like a pig too, so far he's been able to remove every single muzzle we've tried. We're still experimenting until we get it right.

  4. I love the photo of Marley and Misty using their combined mental powers to lure you out! That is very cute!

    My mom lives on our farm so she kindly feeds Pie and Sovereign each morning. In the summer she also turns out some days for me, but now they are a little frisky so I drive over after Maizie's bus leaves and I put them in their huge (5 pastures connected) enclosure. Then I scrub and refill the outside buckets, clean their stalls and scrub and refill the four inside buckets. I am usually done by 10 am and then I can groom and ride. Mornings are wonderful, but I wish I lived at the farm so I could feed. I bring them inside in the evening and feed.

  5. Poor Gluttonous Pony -- but it's for his own good! Just tell him it's no fun when one's feet fall off -- THEN how would he walk to the hay stack?

  6. My other half feeds in the morning. We both go out and feed together in the evening, but now that I have a job, he will be doing both feedings.
    Your barn is so cute!! I love it!

  7. It looks like we are all slaves to our beloved equines. It's wonderful, isn't it?

    Kate, I won't complain about a trip or two extra to the barn (which is right smack next to my house, so very convenient) while Marley is dieting. You are very busy.

    GrayHorse, glad you agree not to partition the paddock. When I turn Marley out into the pasture, he will wear his muzzle 100% of the time. So far, he's kept it on. I keep meaning to video him eating...gobbling sounds and all. It's kind of amazing to watch.

    jeniQ, very nice that you can share the duties with a friend.

    juliette, your farm is so pretty. Nice of your mom to help in the AM.

    eventer79, yep, feet are good things to keep attached.

    PaintGirl, I find jobs interfere with horse care; on the other hand, jobs make horse care possible. Double edged sword. Thanks, thanks we love our little barn & the horses seem to like it a lot too; they choose to be inside quite a bit, whether to escape the sun, rain, or snow.

  8. How very nice that the horses can choose themselves whether to be inside or outside. Very convenient!

    I just have to smile when I read about Marley. He is a Fjord for sure!
    But we have one New Forest in the family and another one in the stable, and their behaviour is not very different.
    I assume it's to do with being a native breed.
    The smart ones, and the ones that managed to get by on little food survived. And their genes were passed on.