Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

All you can eat

No matter how much land you have as pasture, the best thing you can do for its health, is to divide it up. Rotating your animals through multiple pastures, gives the grass time to recover, and helps to prevent overgrazing. As soon as a pasture begins to look eaten down, the horses get locked out of it. One can’t assume there’s grass to eat, just because there are tall areas that look rather lush. No one expects a person to eat and drink out of the toilet. Horses shouldn’t be forced to either.
When designing our corral and pasture layout, I was heavily influenced by the thoroughbred farm, I had worked at in my younger days. Corrals or paddocks have aisles between them, so as to prevent fighting over the fence. Each and every pen has access to at least one pasture, most have more. Luckily for me, the farm we found, when future hubby and I decided that we were going to marry and make a life together, was devoid of fences. It was a blank canvas, as far as that sort of thing went.
Initially finding the right piece of property wasn’t all that easy though. We gave the real estate agent a specific ‘must have’ list. We wanted around eighty acres, at least a well-treed yardsite, a building big enough to house the semi, plus a building that could be converted into a barn. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. It had to have some sort of house as well. What the agent had to show us, time and again, didn’t meet the listed requirements at all. By the time we’d wasted our time seeing yet another far too small, practically treeless property, I was finding it difficult to keep from showing my frustration. Taking in the five acre lot with its three, scrawny trees, lack of barn, and garage that could barely fit a pickup truck, never mind a semi, I couldn’t believe what he was showing us.
“This doesn’t have anything we need,” I tempered my reaction as we looked around, “nowhere near what we need.”
Sometimes, I wonder at my concern with being polite, especially when his response was completely arrogant.
“What, you think you’re going to find all of that? I’m telling you right now, it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t exist in your price range. You two have to adjust your expectations.”
Right then and there, I decided that we were going to find what we wanted. I considered his snotty response an out and out challenge. He stated we couldn’t find what we wanted in a price range we could afford, I intended to prove him wrong. In no time at all, I had found four properties with potential. The one we settled on, had everything we wanted, except eighty acres. Fifty-five would have to do. Over the years, I went from missing those twenty-five acres we didn’t have, to being content with what we did. Even when five acres was expropriated for a ditch, I wasn’t too upset. Fifty acres is a nice chunk of land. All divided up for grazing rotation, it handles our horses rather well.
The funniest thing is, when I open gates to fresh pastures. The horses act like it’s the best thing that ever happened to them, as if they were about to suffer starvation if they were to stay on the present pasture even a minute longer. I went out to shut a gate, my entourage closely following, monitoring my every move. Levis, the giant Belgian was sure that I was going to open a gate, for his little trio to go into a fresh pasture. He was sorely disappointed, as I didn’t.
The girls were completely befuddled with my decision to close the gate that allowed them into the back pasture. I could almost hear Donni calling out to her sisters, “Raven … Sally, hurry! She’s going to close the gate!”
They hurried, but I was faster. The expression on Donni’s pretty face truly was one of sadness. She and her sisters stood there at the gate, as if wishing would make it open again.
“Give it up ladies,” I laughingly called out to the forlorn group, “you won’t starve. You’re standing in an, all you can eat buffet.”

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB