Remembering The Things You Didn’t Realize You Forgot

So my friend is building a barn on her property.  She’s so excited, I’m kind of sad.  I enjoy her company at my barn.  I look forward to the days she is here.  But I am also happy for her.  She thought her horse days were over, she was too sore, and too old (she’s younger than I am).  I showed her that they weren’t over, they had just changed a little.  It gave her life and something to look forward too.  Removed a lot of pent-up stress and replaced it with happiness.

Now our conversations have turned to planning her barn.  She grew up on a ranch in Montana, but her father was in charge of the horses back then.  She had a barn at home when she lived in Pennsylvania, but only for a very short time.  Northern care is different from southern care.  We talked about proper positioning of the barn to get the most from the East/West breeze, and to protect from the Southern sun and Northern winter winds.  We talked about the benefits of a center aisle barn as opposed to a shed row.  We also talked about different hay and grains.  About the best time to buy from the fields and proper storage.  Knowing and trusting the people you purchase from.  How the hay is cured, how to stack it.  I was telling her about spontaneous combustion with poorly cured hay up north.  How barns would catch on fire.  To slide your hand into a bale of hay and make sure it wasn’t wet where it would mold or too hot where it will catch on fire.  To stack it with the bale cord on the sides so it can breath.  To allow air to circulate under and around the bales.  To sweep all the old hay out so any mold spores that were there, will not contaminate the new hay.  It’s funny, the local hay down here doesn’t mold as fast as the Timothy and Alfalfa up north.  I think it’s because of the moisture content in northern hay.  Smell it, and when you open the bale check it out.  Make sure there is no mold.  We have a habit of just taking a few leafs (flakes) and tossing it to our horses without really looking at it.  Horses that are well fed will not eat moldy hay, but horses that are really hungry will, and they will colic.  If it’s a little dry and dusty, either shake it out or wet it down.

Choosing the right grain company is very important to me.  I want fresh grain.  Make sure you dealer moves his grain.  I’ve been in feed stores that grain has been sitting there since the stone age.   I don’t want grain that can be contaminated by cow antibiotics.  There are so many “designer” grains now.  I prefer to add what each horse needs, if and when they need it.  I don’t just want to give something across the board.  Why should I pay extra from something that all the horses don’t need.  I don’t mind playing mad scientist with supplements if it’s going to help a certain horse.  but just to give it to everyone because it’s easier, bothers me.

Barn layout is optional, but work smart, not hard.  The easier we make life for ourselves, the more quality time we can spend with our horses.

With every barn I’ve had, it had different needs.  With every horse I’ve had, it had different needs.  One size doesn’t fit all.   It’s up to Cinderella to try on that glass slipper, and walk away with that prince.  Oh, and most things aren’t cast in stone, you can make adjustments.

I’m going to need a barn warming present, what shall that be?

In loving memory to my hay man Jerry Anderson.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *