Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Fat Farm

Those of you with ponies, miniature horses, donkeys or draft horses
know that keeping "easy keepers" from getting fat is a constant battle.

This time of year presents its own problems, with rich green pastures
calling to our equines... irresistibly calling, calling, calling.

My equines are in pretty good shape these days...
just slightly overweight, but not bad, truly, not bad at all.

It takes constant work and a pretty stringent schedule to keep them this way.

Years ago we fenced in a portion of our front pasture to use as a sacrifice area.
(I know.... it sounds as if we are performing some sort of sacrificial rite, right?
We are not.... I assure you.)

Our sacrifice area is our dry lot...
a large area with room enough to run...
but no room to graze.

Throughout the day I give the horses small amounts of hay to nibble.
Small amounts, often, break up the boredom.

And for a couple hours a day,
they party in the front pasture.

They eat and run and munch and play and feast their little hearts out!

You would think that with such a short time grazing,
I would have a difficult time getting them to come back into the dry lot again.

But not so.
Usually, as soon as they hear my arrival at the barn, they come running.

Well, two of them come running.
Moonbeam and Donnie are always first back to the barn.
Knowing that their yummy grain 
is being served brings them enthusiastically home again.
( I don't actually feed grain, but feed a vitamin mineral supplement.)

The donkey gals are also eager for their grain,
and so they come as soon as they hear me call.

The littles....
well, that's another story.

Ollie takes a little cajoling,
and Red...
well, Red refuses to budge.

That is, until I head out into the pasture and chase him back in...
clapping my hands behind his butt.

When their afternoon meal is consumed, 
it's time for a nap.

And speaking of naps....

TomTom finds some of the most unusual places to relax.
Like in the midst of the pampas grass...

He's one barn kitty who really knows how to relax!

And with no modesty, I might add!


  1. Your horses/ponies/donkeys are very pampered! They all seem to have such individual personalities!
    Love the "nap-time" photos, including TomTom.
    Kathy from Tasmania

  2. Wonderful photos ! When I was on our hobby farm we would let our horses out in the fields for the day every day and only fed them hay the grain was in the winters as an extra so they would put on the meat during the winters to help keep them warm but our horse were ridden so that helped with the weight to ! Thanks for sharing , they all look good to me . Have a good day !

  3. Very beautiful animals . Enjoyed you read and pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Cute, cute.

    Our horses are wearing grazing muzzles. We've toyed with fencing off a sacrifice paddock. Sigh.

  5. I do the exact same thing with my horses during this extra rich grass season. The minis tend toward obese, yours are actually a healthier weight than mine. A problem I have right now is, my QH gelding chases the aged morgan around the dry lot. I've had to put one in and then switch later in the day when they're not out in the pasture.

  6. what a life these guys all have! just wonderful!!! tomtom is too cute!

  7. Delightful creatures! I have seen enough starving animals to prefer seeing an animal who looks a bit overfed. Your place looks beautiful in the spring!

  8. Weight management for animals is so necessary but not always fun. Our donkeys get pretty noisy if they don't go out, but chasing them back in can become a game and often I lose. We don't keep water for them out on the property so they have to come in for a drink. That can be the time to close them in, if I happen to be home and watching.

  9. Such pretty shots!! That kitty...oh my, I think I shall live my next life as a cat!!
    xo Kris

  10. Oh Tom Tom...You must have gotten a sneak peek at next Fridays post..Great minds..They have the uncanny ability of making themselves comfortable almost anywhere, anytime..Great horsie pictures...

  11. Well ,All my gals are portly, and they do not have a dry paddock. But My donkeys are constantly romping about and seem to get loads of exercise. When my goats and sheep have eaten all they need, they just sit in the meadow and chew their cud, it is very sweet to watch


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