I walked out to feed tonight and this is what I saw…
OK OK, yes, I made this sign. But, I was just channeling what I heard ringing throughout the farm tonight. THIS HAY IS CRAP. GIVE US SOMETHING ELSE. WE KNOW YOU HAVE OTHER HAY. WE WANT THAT OTHER HAY. THIS HAY IS CRAP. IF YOU DON’T GIVE US SOMETHING ELSE, WE WILL STARE AT YOU UNTIL WE STARVE TO DEATH. YOU WILL HAVE THE BLOOD OF 11 HORSES ON YOUR SOUL
YOU WILL HAVE THE BLOOD OF 10 HORSES ON YOUR SOUL! GIVE US THE GOOD HAY, TWO-LEGGER! NOW! WE’RE STARVIN’ OVER HERE!
MY HORRIBLE MISTAKE
What was my horrible mistake? My unforgivable infraction? What did I do to deserve this backlash from the barn?
Last year’s hay. I got to the bottom of the hay in the haybarn and saw there was a bale from last year. That was the handy bale so I fed it. Yup. That is what sent these insolent fuzzies into mayhem. A bale from last year. That’s all. Not a bad bale, not a stinky bale, not a moldy bale – nothing like that. It was just… old. Last year’s model.
You’d think I’d given them seaweed or tumbleweeds or dust, forcrissake.
Nope… my little primadonnas were outraged because I served them left-overs.
HOW DID I KNOW?
Usually, the majority of their hay is gone after two hours. The rest of the time they pick at seeds or anything that might possibly be a thread of hay. But, basically, I never see hay sitting around in clumps.
Today, there were clumps strewn everywhere. Everywhere.
I swear they danced in it, dragged it around on their hooves, twirled it over their heads and tossed it and then pushed it as far away from them as they could.
Them: “How DARE she feed us that swill”
Me: I can hear you.
Them: “Well, fine. She should hear us. This is not acceptable. We should turn her into the Cruelty to Horses Forum.”
Me: The what?
Them: “You heard us… The Board of YOUcan’tdothattous. We are going to turn you in and then we are never going to speak to you or look at you if you are looking at us. OK, everyone at once, stare at the back of her head!”
Me: (Sighing) OK. Whatever. I’m not giving you anything else.
Them: (clamoring in an uproar) “Did you hear what she said? She said she won’t give us the good stuff that we know is right there — in the first stall. We can see it. We can smell it. We know it is in there…. Waaaaaaaah, we are gonna starve! We are gonna perish! PERISH. YOU ARE CRUEL!! WaaaaHHHHHHHHH.”
Me: Oh give me a break. Spoiled brats.
Sam: “Ahem… I’m eating mine.”
THE VARIOUS PILES
I couldn’t stand it. So, I went around to all the piles with my camera to document the carnage of this morning’s hay. I found several techniques of hay shuffling.
1) The “spread it all around and see if there is anything good underneath this pile of crap” method. Bodhi and Gwen adopted this strategy. It didn’t work, obviously. But, it did manage to grind all the good hay into the mud. Nice.
2) The “OK, I’ll poop in it” strategy. Of course the ponies adopted this plan. Well, actually, I think it was only Slick at the helm of this one. He looked guilty and usually is… Remi sniffed at the piles and then continued to stare at me wherever I went.
3) The “stir up the middle and create a volcano so this stuff will erupt and go away forever” style of hay origami. As you can see, Tess did this to all three piles in her pasture. She went to hers first. Ugh. Then she pushed Sam out of the way and did the same to Sam’s pile. Then she demanded another flake from me.
Me being me, I threw her another flake from the crap bale.
Ohhh, she was doubly pissed. Tess gave me the stinkeye like you’ve never seen.
Me: Better watch out or your face will stick like that (channeling my mother…)
Tess: “I thought (sniff) that (bawl) you loved (sniff, bawl, weep, cough) loved me…
4) The “push it outside the fence and maybe she will give us more of the good stuff” plan. This was Finn and BG’s idea. They pushed all of it away from them and outside their fence. Then they stared at me…
BG: “See, we don’t have any hay! We need more. More of the stuff in the first stall, please”.
Me: Uh, no.
I TRIED NOT TO, BUT INDEED, I BECAME MY MOTHER
I heard myself morphing into my mother. I felt myself transport to a time when I was 6, refusing to eat my peas at the kitchen table and my mother’s logic shooting at me like rubber arrows. And, here I was, doing the same, useless thing… creating the same useless arguments.
Me: There are horses all over the country that would die for that hay… ANY hay!
Them: OK, well, pack this crap up and drive it to them… and on the way back, get us some good hay.
Me: This is ridiculous. Eat it.
Me: Well, I’m not giving you anything else.
Them: Sure you will
Me: No. I won’t.
Them; Really? After being so worried that the ponies were dropping weight or that Tess is getting old or that it might rain and be cold tonight or that maybe we’ll colic without food or maybe we just won’t love you anymore.
Me: That’s not fair. How can you read my mind like that.
Them: We are intuitive and we use it to our advantage… Gotcha!
The only shining star during this entire day was Sam. She is the untouchable wild mare. Obviously, she remembers having to struggle to find food. She remembers living in the wild. She remembers that every meal is good.
As I walked by her, she ate the entire pile that Tess had turned into a volcanic nest of green. Sam looked up and thanked me for her meal, as she always does. Bless her untouchable Dun self.
What baffles me is that this hay was perfectly fine last year. They ate it happily and heartily all last year. But, this year… no way.
Somewhere in the distance I hear my 13 year old daughter telling me how her jeans from last year are hideous and totally out-dated. I thought about it for a minute and decided that they are all spoiled around here. Suddenly, I wished I had a few more bales of the “old hay” to serve daily for a week or so. I felt my chest fill with power as I decided to not give them any more hay until they finished what they had.
There. I’ll show them!
And then they did what they had to do. They saw the strength returning to my willpower and they knew they had to bring out the big guns…
With my back firmly stiffened and me marching towards the house in defiance, I heard it.
Me: Oh no. NO. NOOOOOOO.
Yup, the distinctive inhale and the unmistakable squeak of a donkey ready to blow.
Me: UNCLE, YOU WIN, YOU WIN! JUST DON’T LET THE DONKEY BLOW! I’LL GIVE YOU THE GOOD HAY! (I’m sobbing now) OK. OK. You win, you brats. Just please, don’t let the donkey blow.
And with that one all-powerful weapon, “the threat of BurroBlast”, I was defeated.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
JANUARY DROP IN THE BUCKET FUND: THE PAIUTE ORPHAN FOALS
To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate the the ‘Saved from Slaughter Orphan Foals’, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)
OMG this is hysterical. I’m new to your blog. My friend sent me the link because we JUST HAD this very conversation. I’d called her fretting and worrying about the fact that I could not see ANY reason why my two horses would rather starve than eat the crap I’d put out. And I was so worried about how cold it was at night. LOL She said her horses have done the same as well. Well it is good to learn I’m actually not alone in this. Gave me a good laugh this morning. Thanks!
I love your blog! Thanks for the laughs, it reminds me of the barn I board at.
oh god…..its true….they have all of us completely trained via natural humanship.
LOL.. Thanks for the laughs. I so enjoy your blog.
HA HA I knew you would give in…..
You really outdid yourself with this one! I love knowing that I’m not alone. LOL My horses turned their stalls into something defying description when I accidentally gave them year-old hay during a storm a couple of weeks ago. It’s okay for that stuff to go out into the feeder. They’ll pick at it until it’s pretty much gone. But in their STALLS? Nuh-UH! Sacrilege! I knew something was up when the barn hand greeted me with “What happened here last night?”
Ha Ha Ha,this post made me laugh out loud this AM, THANKS! My husband is the Hay Disciplinarian here. He always says I give them way too much and he refuses to replace any hay whether beautifully fresh and green or last years leftovers until they (we have 8) have cleaned it all up. He has them well trained as I never have the protested piles like you do. We have hay racks with catch trays so there is very little dropped or wasted. I call them the “All you can eat Hay Buffets”.