We have a daily feeding routine that roughly goes like this:

Load up grain and drive to the pasture.

Set feed pans on the back of the pickup and open the gate, making sure not to let the whole herd out – just our two old sweeties.

Hand out treats to the Herd of Oldsters who glue themselves to the fence line, so we can’t help but see them. I sing and talk and stroke noses (not mine.) For the record, Rick doesn’t sing to the horses, but on occasion he’s been known to talk to them.

Brush Bud and Pepper while they snarf down their medicine-laced grain.

Move to the dessert bar and dispense hay cubes and/or horse candy to our sweeties.

Lead them back through the gate.

Repeat the next day.

And the next.

Bud and Pepper have this routine down cold. They know it better than we do. Most days when we pull up, they’re standing at the gate, waiting for us. I wonder exactly what time they mosey to that part of the pasture. How long do they actually stand there waiting for us? And what do they do on those rare occasions when we don’t come out to feed? I worry about that, but they don’t hold it against us.

Forgiving animals – our horses.

Last year I set up the dessert bar because I had to move the snacks out of Miss Pepper’s line of vision. She was having trouble concentrating on her grain. All she was interested in was nosing into the bucket of snacks and stuffing her mouth with hay cubes. I assured her I could relate, but nonetheless, she had to finish her dinner before she could have dessert.

I had a lot of practice being a mother. Can you tell?

So now, our horses know that when their grain pans are empty, they’re allowed to move to the dessert bar for, well, dessert.

It’s a seamless transition.

Other horse owners watch us and shake their heads. I’m not sure it’s awe or embarrassment.

We do let our sweeties get away with behavior other folks would probably not tolerate. We figure they’re retired and have earned the right to be pampered.

And if others don’t agree-to each their own.

On many days Bud and Pepper put themselves back into the pasture, though they need us to help with the latch. They know the drill.

Smart animals – our horses. 

They’ve trained us well!

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