One evening everyone was at the barn at the same time, so I brought it up to Cowboy's owner L. She's young - fifteen - but a good rider and a pretty good listener too. I mentioned that the hay bag had been empty repeatedly, and asked how much hay she was feeding.
When she said three flakes. I proceeded to give the "hay lecture" :
Hay flakes are all different
Horses (with no grass) need 2% of their body weight in hay per day
For Cowboy that's 24lbs or so, which could be a third to a half bale of hay depending
Weighing the hay is more accurate - did she want to borrow my scale
Horses need to eat constantly for their digestion to function properly
Without enough hay, at best you have a restless bored horse, at worst a colicking horse
During the hay discussion L's mother M walked up and interrupted:
"Well - I've NEVER heard that before. That's not how we did it in Pa. When he lived in Pa he only ate so and so flakes. Besides he just drops it on the ground and then it's wasted."
This put me over the edge. I laid into her about how I didn't care how they did it in back in Pa - didn't he also have grass up there - yes. Was she the one feeding him there - no - it was full board. Didn't he show up to my barn from Pa about 150 lb underweight - yes. Eight hours is entirely too long for him to go without hay. A few bales of hay are waaay cheaper than colic surgery, and besides you have to be able to get your horse on a trailer before you can even get to the vet...
This was the interesting part.
The conversation took place over my paddock gate, me and Val on one side. L and her mother on the other. When things got intense, Val proceeded to stretch his neck out over the gate, turn his head sideways and gently lay it on M's shoulder. He snuggled up close to her neck and kept his head there for the entire exchange, about ten minutes. Val has given me a horse hug or two since I've known him, and he's more than happy to share grooming, but this was a very unusual display of affection. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that Val was trying to diffuse the tension, and that he felt for M while she was undergoing the wrath...
( Okay - my
|Was I being cute - - - again?!|
I saved this critter from being hammered by the sprinkler in the garden this evening...
I thought it was called a Hummingbird moth. Pretty hefty right? :). They hover while hunting nectar at night, and do sound just like a hummingbird when they buzz around your flowers.
Apparently it's also called a Sphinx or Hawk moth. Unfortunately (I didn't realize) the caterpillar version is the tobacco / tomato hornworm - dreaded enemy in the garden. They are startlingly large as well. Pretty is as pretty does...