The hay truck

Toward the end of winter last year, we learned that the feeding crew, who deliver hay to the pasture twice a day, had given Pepper a nickname.

They’d dubbed her, “The Takeout Queen.” She earned the name because they delivered her portion of hay directly to her.

She didn’t have to fight the younger, stronger horses for her share. All she had to do was put her head into her own pile of hay and eat.

I loved them for doing that.

Really loved them.

They’d noticed how thin she was and on their own took action to make sure she didn’t go hungry.

Did I mention that I loved them for that?

Yes, I guess I did.

The way pasture horses eat in winter is similar to a long buffet line at a restaurant. The hay delivery system usually consists of two people – think of them as the wait staff. One drives and the other tosses out hay.

It’s important to spread the hay out so that the horses aren’t crammed together fighting for the same pile. If that were to happen, only the strongest, most aggressive horses would eat.

And that would leave Miss Pepper very hungry.

As it is, horses move from one pile to the next, nudging each other away. The horse version of the childhood game musical chairs.

The older horses usually lose out, because they don’t want the fight. They don’t have it in them anymore.

Last year the herd of oldsters hadn’t found each other, so Bud and especially Pepper needed special attention.

It’s different this year. The six mainstays of the herd of oldsters watch out for each other. The herd provides safety. They’ve become a unit that essentially stays together all the time. They walk together for water. They hang out in the shed out of the wind. They snooze in the sun.

Five senior horses and Baby, the two-year old. Sweetest thing ever!