Horsin’ Around 3-8-10
March 8, 2010
I enjoy meeting new people … I guess that next to horses, people are my favorite. In horse behavior, the feeling is called “Epimeletic Behavior.” The word means the concern of one animal for another. Mares care diligently for their foals and will fight horses that are higher in the hierarchy without hesitation if they approach the mare’s new foal. In addition, horses that do not associate with each other very often during most of the year may stand head-to-tail during fly season and swish annoying flies from each other. When fly season ends, so does the friendship.
We humans have the same type of behavior – I think it is a fact that we are all social animals. Last Saturday I went to the hay sale at Centennial Auction to buy a couple of large square bales of hay for my horses. Auctions are one of my favorite places to go, sometimes I can save money on what I want, but sometimes I just walk away. However, I like to have a large bail out in the pasture for the horses to munch on during the day and pen them up at night. Also I like to feed North Park hay. My horses seem to like it better than any other kind and in North Park, they seem to put it up in better shape than down here. Oh, you have to pay a little extra for the trucking but my horses stay fatter through the winter on it.
Anyway, I bought two bales and then went in to pay for them. After paying, I then went out to the lady marking down the order to load us. There, I met another lady in line to pick up as well. We visited a short while and were told it would be a while before we could load. So I said, “Well I’m going to get some breakfast,” and headed that way. No sooner had I ordered my breakfast, when the lady buying hay walked in and I indicated a seat at my table.
After she ordered we began a conversation between her, myself and the guy sitting behind us. She advised she owned a boarding stable in Colorado Springs and had driven all the way up to Fort Collins to buy about 16 large bales. Turned out her boarding stable was east of the Springs and she was feeding about 20 head of horses. She said she could buy hay cheaper here than anywhere down there and including the fuel cost, it was still cheaper. She advised that those 16 bales would last her about 20 or so days before she had to go out to buy more.
That just amazed me to understand what you have to do to keep your business going. So I questioned her more and came to realize that I was glad to live in an area where I could stay fairly close within my budget on feeding my horses. I asked her if the economy had caused her to lose any of her boarded horses and she said no. This, to me, indicated that the folks down there were in a little better financial shape than the rest of us. Because I have seen the price of horses drop tremendously over the past year or so and in fact was able to buy a new horse because of it.
However, as I thought about the price of hay I began to wonder if more folks would drive up here to buy hay and cause our hay prices to go up. That would be good for the hay farmers, but not too fine for those of us buying it. Oh well, the law of, “supply and demand” is a never-ending factor.
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Some times I wonder if it wouldn’t be nice to be a horse and not worry about the financial problems. Then on the other hand they have their problems as well. In the wild, they have to worry about feed supply on the range, or if they can get fed enough by their owner. We are seeing many news articles about starving horses when the owners can’t afford the hay. In addition, a lot of news articles about folks just turning their horse out on land that doesn’t belong to them. I guess they have their problems as well, they just don’t sit around and dwell on them (I think).
I know I am getting into a touchy subject now, but we have a real problem with all of the horse killer plants being taken out of this country. I would rather see unwanted or injured horses put down for dog food than to see them suffer the way they are now. I love horses as much as anyone and they have been my life but I hate to see them suffer.
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.