Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Horse Chores

Neighbour Norma, the valley matriarch, owns a lot of horses.
She is into harness racing ie. trotters/pacers*.
When they are in training they go up north but come home to spell and recuperate on a rotational basis.
They have very special diets and need to be fed twice a day.
Neighbour Bob usually does this job but he has gone to Wellington, New Zealand for a week to take part in pre wedding plans for his youngest daughter's upcoming nuptials. He was there just in time to experience some strong earthquakes that are so common in that country.
We have taken over the responsibility of feeding Norma's and Bob's horses plus Ranni, the farm cat and mouser extraordinaire .
So we up early (for me) for the first feed of the day. A specific mixture of oaten chaff, lucerne (alfalfa) chaff, oats, black sunflower seeds, soya meal plus a mystery powder ingredient is bagged up and then distributed around the horses.
Being thoroughbreds on hard feed they are pretty fired up so you have to watch them a little carefully. And the paddocks are separated by electric fences so you need to be also aware of not getting zapped.
The co driver is a little apprehensive about horses but after a week or so I think she is a little more comfortable dealing with them.

The late afternoon feed is complemented with a leaf of lucerne and cut up apples and carrots (as treats prepared by their owner).
It's funny to watch the horses pick the latter out of the chaff and grain to eat first.
Bob's horses get a similar but not the same mix (his mystery powder is different) but only in the afternoon.
All in all we have eleven equine and one feline mouth to feed.
Norma gives us the race times so more often than not we are able to watch them 'go around' on the racing channel on TV. She has had some good results mixed in with not so good ones.

*A trotter moves its legs forward in diagonal pairs (right front and left hind, then left front and right hind striking the ground simultaneously).
A pacer moves its legs laterally (right front and right hind together, then left front and left hind.
But that doesn't really matter you can still lose your money betting on either gait.

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