Graze Expectations

I am very fortunate to have more acres of pasture than I have horses to eat it. Right now I’m down to only two of my own horses, so thank goodness for good friends with lots of equine mouths to feed. My oldest horse is Scout, a mustang from the Piceance Creek herd near Meeker Colorado, who’s now 16 years old. He was 4 years old when he got caught up in the 1999 round-up of wild horses, and quite the little stallion.  I adopted him through the BLM Wild Horse program, picked him out of a hundred or so stallions in a corral at the Canon City Federal Penitentiary.  Scout’s a very special horse and I’m going to devote more than one post to him, all on his own.

And then there’s Magic, bred by my friend Peg, whose other broodmares, colts and weanlings try their darndest to eat as much of their allocated meadow as they can…but find it impossible to make a dent. Magic’s just 5 and I’ve been riding him since he was 3 years old. Here’s a picture of my two fellows, with my friend Christy’s gelding Ringo in the middle.

Magic, Ringo and Scout

You can see from this photo that the grass is tall now.  In fact, right next to this horse pasture the grass is lying in great, succulent swaths that smell like a mix of sweet tobacco and fruit lollipops. I love to pick up thick handfuls of it and rub it in my hands to release the fragrance. Here’s a trick I was taught the first year we lived on the ranch: pick up some blades of drying grass and twist it. If the blades break within five twists, it’s ready to bale. The stuff that’s lying on our hundreds of acres of hay meadow should be ready tomorrow.

Cut grass drying on a perfect Colorado hay day

If I were to die tomorow and had the choice of coming back as anything in the world, I’d choose to return to this earth as a horse on the Michigan River Ranch in August. There’s cool water running in the river, the mosquitos and gnats are gone, the days are hot and the nights cool, and the breeze generally keeps the horse flies away.  What could be better?

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