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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feeding Time

I feed the horses in the morning. By rights, I should make the girls get up and care for their horses but I like the early morning feeding. It gets me up and gets me out for some exercise. I also get to enjoy some pretty spectacular sunrises. It is also pretty entertaining.

The horses know what time breakfast is served. All three of them are lined up at the fence staring at the back door just waiting for it to open. When I get to the gate all the noses come over the fence and start checking my hands. I am known to bring carrots out with me in the morning. Not every morning, but they always check. Once satisfied by either munching on a carrot or having confirmed I have no carrots (or the occasional peppermint), they walk around the barn and into the stalls to supervise preparation of their breakfast.

They watch intently as I set about setting up breakfast. First step, get down a hay bale and count out the flakes. Currently it is seven flakes. I think they are learning to count. I can feel their eyes on my back as I stack the flakes up for easy distribution. Next I open up the grain bin and start measuring out the grain. They are totally focused on me now. They are making sure I get it just right. If Mariah thinks I am not moving fast enough she starts running her teeth up and down the bars are the stall. When I glance back at her she tosses her head at me and says, "Hurry Up! I am HUNGRY! By the way, you are a 1/2 ounce short on my grain, , make sure you correct that before you serve me."

The next step in the ritual is to take the grain out. Beamer is the first one there. Beamer and I are working on where his nose should be. In my opinion, his nose should be about three feet away from me until I set down his bowl and step away. In his mind his nose should be in which ever bowl is closest. Negotiations continue. And they are going in favor of my opinion.

Next bowl down is for Mariah. She prances around tossing her head until I set her bowl down. Finally Ebony gets her bowl. From the first moment I walk out the door until I set her bowl down she maintains a low nicker. She walks around calmly and is not pushy but you can tell she can't wait. While the three of them are eating I spread the hay around the pasture and start mucking while I wait for the next ritual of the morning feeding to begin.

Beamer is getting extra rations. We are trying to get some wight on to him before winter and its proving to be tough. He is low horse on the food chain so he gets pushed of the hay easily. I spread the hay around such that no one horse can control all the food and that helps. We are also giving him twice the grain we give the other horses. And he eats slow.

The mares just hork their grain down as fast (and messy)as they can. Then they start looking for more. Then they start looking at Beamer. Ebony has learned, very quickly I might add, that she is not allowed to eat B's grain. She finishes her grain and heads for the hay. Mariah thinks that if she can't see me, I can't see her. So she starts to walk towards B. B pins his ears and swings her butt towards her but Mariah just ignores him. If I stay out of sight she will stick her nose in his bowl and the two of them will stand there and eat B's grain. B doesn't like this very much but is a gelding to do? The mean old mare just can't be beat.

But I don't stay out of sight. As she starts walking towards B, so do I. She sees me and walks past B to a hay pile. She throws a look my way that says, "See. I wasn't going to eat his food. Honest. I just wanted this hay over here." This morning she actually trotted down to the feeder when I came out. As soon as I turned around I heard trotting feet and turned around to find Mariah trotting towards B. I went towards B and she trotted on past to a different hay pile trying once again t make it look like that was her intention the whole time. Every morning its the same thing. Whenever she thinks I'm not looking she heads for B's bowl.

I enjoy mornings. I really do.

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