Let me start by saying I’m so damn grateful for my job at the moment. It’s only downfall (typical of most ag jobs) is the rate of hourly pay… BUT I get to work outside, under (mostly) blue skies. My horses are my life. Maintaining them, finding country to run them, having sufficient time to put the training into them has been a MASSIVE CHALLENGE!
Last week I took time off work to take my eldest to a netball carnival in a regional centre four hours drive away. Everything I do, I do for my kids. I have a governess/ home help lady who lives with us full time to keep the household running and school tasks on track (they study via distance education) and it was her job to hold down the fort so to speak whilst we were away. This mainly consisted of keeping the horses and dogs plus a poddy calf fed. As anyone with young horses in a training program will tell you diet is a key component in their mental & physical performance. Can you see where I heading with this…
One of my youngsters that I’ve handled & broken in myself from birth is now a green, testosterone fueled two, nearly three old. Loads of fun, super soft but can be a handful especially around other horses as he’s learning his manners. I jerk a knot in his tail quick smart & he’s biddable 99% of the time. This occasion though he was completely off his tree, even after riding pens all morning in a 8000 head feedlot. I put it down to young horse syndrome plus that he’d had too many days off between work days. Part of my philosophy with colts is to keep them sane keep them socialised. He’s always run in a mob, not kept isolated like a tiger in a cage, & now runs in the same yard as his gelding work buddy.
Lately to keep him a bit less fiery I’ve cut out the bulk of his grain feeds. If he’s lucky he might get half a dipper on the Friday & Saturday feeds, but then cut off again to get it out of his system before Monday. Turns out my helper had inadvertedley doubled his grain ration & continued to feed him the ‘hot’ ration right through the week whilst I’d been away, a fact that I didn’t find out until a few days later.
Although he runs quite happily with his buddy come feed up time he DOES NOT share. She’d put both their twice daily rations into the one big trough that we use. His mate, Jake had been starved for those days I’d been away whilst he’d been able to hog the lot. Luckily he hadn’t got colic & Jake was just tucked up.
The result, he (the colt) had a head flicking, jump, skip hop ‘moment’ that resulted in me getting a cracker of a knock to my eye & a massive, dark, purplish black eye. I think the eye socket has been cracked as even now that the swelling has subsided I can feel a distinctive bump. Once I’d worked out that the main contributing factor to his adolescent outburst was an overload of high energy feed (think teenage boy on Red Bull) he was forgiven, though he did get most sternly reprimanded.
The lesson from all this is don’t assume that your ‘help’ understands the nuances of feeding horses (& stock in general). Put the dots super close together even if you think it’s ‘common sense’. Seems common sense isn’t that common anymore.
Sometimes you’ve just got to roll with what life throws at you. It’s not worth your time & energy getting mad. I didn’t yell or scream at her for making the mistake. What would that have achieved? Appreciate TRY & always be ready to forgive.