Grazing.






Ahhh, the joy of watching your horse graze.  I swear, watching a horse graze is extremely relaxing for me…  (putting aside all Founder, IR, Cushings and other grass/sugar issues…).

Grazing is immensely satisfying to both the watcher and the nibbler.

I love it.  They love it.

So today, while I was building my ark (just kidding but it did rain ALL DAY today), I let 5 of the horses out to graze.  (Yes, I did run the risk of someone suddenly thinking they heard something untoward and thus scattering the thundering hooves, creating endless skid marks and divits in my lawn…but, I did it anyway.)

Handsome, mostly wild Rojo.  Doesn't he look like a postcard here?  He is the Leader and everyone is within his sight while grazing.

Handsome and mostly wild Rojo. Doesn’t he look like a postcard here? He is the Herd Leader – everyone is within his sight while grazing.  Here he is eating Hubby’s favorite bush which didn’t make me happy.  You can see the fronds in his mouth.

MENTAL STIMULATION

I have never done an official study on this, so don’t quote me to anyone who might have done an official study… but to me, my horses seem to love the grazing activities for the eating as well as the mental part.

They have to think while grazing in new areas.

I so enjoy watching the equine mental wheels move, if you know what I mean… While studying them in a ‘freedom state’ I have found that they think – a  lot.  When my horses are free, they interact with each other differently and act more, well… more horselike.

I love that!

Of the 5 who were let out today, all of them frolicked and played, burst forth with alarms and screeching halts (great for the lawn) and a brave few (led by Gwen) investigated new areas to find forage.

Gwen, who is always into something, was shadowed by Bodhi who knows he will benefit if he follows her.

Remi and Rojo were never far from each other.  Rojo is the leader and Remi is the muscle.

Sam orbited around but generally stayed on her own, watching.  She is the Voice of Reason in the herd.  Sam is still very wild and I respect her opinion greatly.

Sam, the still very wild mare.  She is the Voice of Reason.  She stabilizes the herd by remaining calm at all times.  She is solid as a rock.  Sam probably would have made an excellent trail horse, if she was interested in being gentled - which she isn't.

Sam, the still very wild mare. She is the Voice of Reason. She stabilizes the herd by remaining calm at all times. She is solid as a rock. Sam probably would have made an excellent trail horse, if she was interested in being gentled – which she isn’t.

GUT AND DIGESTION

Grazing is a natural process for horses that aids digestion.  As we know, horses were meant to graze out in the wild, constantly moving and grabbing bits and pieces as they move along – stimulating plant regrowth.  This constant movement keeps the equine gut in working order and promotes good digestion.  As horses graze and migrate along, they leave seeds in manure which populate the land.  Their hooves churn up the soil and add air, their urine adds needed chemicals to revitalize the turf…  there is science to it all.

As we know, it isn’t really very natural to have horses in a stall or conversely, grazing on lush pastures 24/7… nor is it natural to feed them large amounts of feed 2 or 3 times a day.

But, we’ve domesticated them and changed their grazing practices.  So, most of us do the best we can.  However, lack of normal grazing can be the root of many medical issues.   (More on that for another post…)

For now, let’s remain peaceful; watching horses graze on the ranch, grabbing bits and pieces as they move around.

So, here are a few pics taken today.

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This is Remi who always cleans up around the apple tree first. If I am outside, she will run up to me and stare at me – and then look at the apple tree. She likes me to bump the tree and make the apples drop. (I’m waiting for the day that she figures out that she can bump the tree herself.)

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Here we have Rojo in the back, Gwen is the dark brown and Bodhi is behind her, looking at me.  You can see the huge scar on his barrel.

HORSE GRAZING IS SIMILAR TO BISON GRAZING…

Bison were great for the grasslands and ranges.  But, we hunted them all.

Many people think that cattle are like bison but they don’t forage similarly at all.  Bison moved about, ripped the tops of grasses and never stayed in one place for long.  So, they were constantly churning up different areas, creating better soil and spreading seeds around.

Cattle tend to stay around the water, they pull grass from the roots and will eat down to the grassland nubbins.

Bison forage much more similarly to horses than cattle.

I find that interesting…

Bison forage much more closely to horses than cattle.

Bison forage much more closely to horses than cattle. (click to enlarge)

MORAL OF THE STORY…

Well, there is no moral, really.   Just let your horse graze when it makes sense according to their sugar issues.  And, if you have a stalled horse, hand walk them as often as you can.  Movement helps the equine in so many ways.

And, if your rangeland is dying, cut back on the cattle and merge a few horses – or bison.  ;)

Sam emerges from behind the tree...

Sam emerges from behind the tree…

newrule2

JEWELRY WITH A PURPOSE – For the horses!

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Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 7.34.57 PMWe gift wrap, can add personal message and drop ship! Just email me !

JEWELRY THAT BENEFITS THE BUCKET FUND HORSES!  Every donation counts!  Click image to see the new pieces!

JEWELRY THAT BENEFITS THE BUCKET FUND HORSES! Every sale counts! Click image to see the new pieces!

 

Today for the Bucket Fund, we have a very special Smaller Dandelion pendant on 30" leather from MT's artist friend in Poland.  Only $38!  Click image to grab it!

Today for the Bucket Fund, we have a very special Smaller Dandelion pendant on 30″ leather from MT’s artist friend in Poland. Only $38! Click image to grab it!


OUR DECEMBER BUCKET FUND HORSES!  All donations are 100% tax deductible and Donate any amount and you qualify for a Donor Gift Certificate (“A donation was made in your honor…”) to give as a gift!

1)  CINNAMON THE ANCIENT (but charming…) GELDING.

Cinnamon is at The Golden Carrot Old Folks home for horses with age or special needs.  Cinnamon has both… He’s well over 30 and needs a special diet (he was very thin and had bad teeth), is sensitive to light, has arthritis… but he gets around quite well and has a very dapper and charming personality!

Please help Cinnamon with his monthly expenses this December.  Many, many thanks!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO CINNY!

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2)  LILA, THE MINI DONK who beat the odds but now has a tremendous bill to pay!

Do you remember Lila?!  She is the young, mini donkey that had the misfortune of meeting an uneducated vet who operated on a sarcoid which made it spread horribly and take over her left eye.  Luckily, the fine doctors at UC Davis spent an entire YEAR helping this little one fight the sarcoid through many, many Cisplatin treatments.  (Hence the need for a helping hand Bucket Fund…)

She made it!

Would you like to help Lila by donating to her UC Davis Compassionate Care Fund?  Then Click here!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO LILA!

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3)  THE HORSE AND MAN, INC ‘RE-WILDING’ PROGRAM FOR THE MUSTANGS AND BURROS!

Now that Horse & Man has a non-profit arm, we plan on re-wilding Mustangs on private ranch lands.  Our plan is to use Heritage Ranching methods where range cattle can roam with the wild equine herds as it was with the bison and the mustangs/burros years ago.  Symbiotic, heritage ranching.  This is a delicate and involved process.  The plans are set but the lands need to be acquired.  For us at Horse & Man, we want to remember the Equine’s gift to us – and give back.

CLICK HERE to donate to the HORSE & MAN Re-Wilding Program!

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