Sometimes when it is a really good thought I'll mull over it in my mind for a few days before telling anyone. Sometimes I actually get cracking and write it as a blog so you all can read it and put your thoughts together with my thoughts. I like that, it's what blogging is about.
Lately I have been thinking about a number of different things. I started this post a few days ago and I am sure I'll remember them all at 2 am when I am sleeping, not blogging.
Hands. What do hands have to do with horses? Well more on a skeletal or cellular level they are similar. When we use our hands more our skin cell production speeds up. This creates what we know as a callous. A callous is a place of thickened skin cells where we place repeated use; our fingertips and palms for example. If we stopped using these areas they would shed that calloused skin over time and become softer because of decreased need to keep up an excelled skin cell production. Hence our skin produces more or less depending on how much we use them and on what surfaces. A secretary at an office might have a callous on his/her index finger from using a pen. A blacksmith will have a large callous on their thumb from repeated use of a hammer but not on their index finger because they do not spend much time writing like the secretary.
The same has been proven with horses. Their feet are largely a "Use it or lose it" functionality. The more abrasive surfaces they are on the more sole their hoof will produce. The less abrasive surfaces they are on the less sole they produce. Take this into consideration when shoeing a horse. I hear people say "My horse is ouchy on pavement" so I ask where the horse is kept. The answer does not usually surprise me when they say a grass pasture or a stall most of the day with limited work on the pavement the owner is complaining about. Horses feet need to be conditioned slowly to the surface you want them to work on.
Think of horses soles being sensitive like your callouses on your own hands. If I asked you to pick up a hammer and swing away with me all day on an anvil, and you have never previously done it don't you think your hands are going to be raw by the end of the day? If I asked you to come swing hammer for an amount of time, increasing every day, wouldn't you build up more gradually until the time I was working at with much less resistance and pain?
Same goes for your horses hooves. Don't expect them to be on grass all day and to work on the road comfortably without regular work on the road.
I'm saying this because I have seen NUMEROUS horse bloggers complaining about buying hay.. Hay is for horses (and cows and sheep and goats and other ruminants). There are several reasons why people are complaining this year. 1) They cannot get hay. 2) The price of the hay IS TOO DAMN HIGH! (name that youtube video!) 3) Their hay got ruined and now they have to buy it (see 1 and 2). 4) Hay providers are running out and people who buy from them are getting mad.
1) Hay got ruined this year globally it seems. Farmers are being smart and making sure their own families were fed by planting crops such as corn and soybeans that are at an all time high this year in price(See #3). With as much hay that has been ruined this year why should they take a chance on their own families not being fed and cared for when they could plant another crop, cash in the money and buy hay for their animals elsewhere.
2) Do not complain about the price of hay going up. First of all hay has been at the same price in most places for the past 10 and even 20 years!!! If it is not the same price it is within two or three dollars of that price. Do you want to work at wages that were present 10 or 20 years ago? I don't think so.
3) Ruined hay. We have had droughts. Months without rain turning fields of lovely alfalfa into deserts. Rain. It rained sooooooo much that getting a dry moment where your tractor did not get stuck so you could cut and rake and allow the time to cure the hay seemed nearly impossible. A lot of hay was lost. To prevent income loss the farmers who could not take their hay off planted grains instead (See #1).
4) Hay farmers will not usually store hay for buyers unless they pay them ahead of time (or are good friends, return, reputable customers for years and years and years. Depends on the hay seller really). It is a waste of profit, space and time for them. For example the seller could save a few hundred bales for someone who's going to "maybe" come back in a few months at the customers convenience or they can sell it (or ship it to the US where there are states that have no hay whatsoever due to rain/fire/drought) and make the money now. It's a bit less risky to know your money is in your hand than waiting for months and months for that customer to come back at their own convenience when they "need" hay.
I know I am going to make some readers mad with posting this bit on hay but it's what is happening. When you point something out like this a lot of people are complaining about it's going to make someone mad or upset. You cannot please everyone. I understand because I deal with the farmers who sell the hay and the owners who want to buy it.
PS- people are still annoyed at the price this year even if you read this post. Another fact to consider is that farming is directly influenced by mother nature. Hay is one of the most high risk crops and the one with the most manual labor (unless you can afford larger machines that do it all). The only people who fully appreciate that are the farmers directly supplementing their income with hay and other crops. A rise in prices this year can aid the farmer in the chance that this mass loss of income could happen next year. It's their own personal insurance, not farmers being greedy and wanting more money. Your not in farming because you want to make a lot of money, just like your never in horses to make a lot of money. It just doesn't happen that way.
Those of you who are in a severe drought right now COME GET OUR RAIN!!! UGH! It rained the other day and looks like the next 7 days there's going to be rain. The barnyard is a swamp. Areas where it previously was not muddy or deep are now over the tops of my boots. I went to close a gate to a pasture at my one barn and it sucked my boot right off, sock in the mud SPLAT! I cussed for a moment before taking off my sloppy sock and yanking my boot out of the mud.
It's also fall now which means I have to wear a sweater outside in the morning. I hate sweaters because it means winter is coming. It's cold I want summer back with heat that dries this mud and rain up.
It also means apples. I looooove apples. So does Indigo. It's safe to say they are her favorite food ever. When I come with an apple it's generally the only time she will come trotting/cantering to me nickering the whole time. She nickers at me for no reason when I am grooming her, just to see if I'll offer an apple. She nickers at me when I mount to ride her and dismount. I don't feed her an apple every time she nickers (like she wishes) but she does get one every time I go to the fence to get her. She will take apples over grain, carrots or horse treats. She LOVES apples
"Good job loyal human subject. This apple offering pleases the