Monday, November 20, 2006

An Arabian Horse and a Jaguar Sharing Shelter!

This isn't necessarily a normal moment here at the ranch, but with Donny, my Arabian Horse, anything is possible. I'm thinking he anticipates some rain perhaps and wants a roof over his head close to humans! But, in trying to capture this picture, I realized he was both enjoying the carport and the massive amount of live oak acorns blown in by the wind for his enjoyment in a nice 'parking' spot. I scooted him out the gate in short order where he's got ample grass still to graze, it really wouldn't do for him to get a belly full of acorns, he might founder on them.....I swear he can founder on most anything - except grass and alfalfa hay!

Donny came to the ranch a few years back, he foundered immediately his first spring on the fresh grass! Turns out it's A&M's opinion that he was an old founder that explains the really good deal I got when I bought him. The years since then have been difficult and draining and at times had me at what I thought was the end of my endurance, much less his. Regardless, we both weathered it through (his farrier says he's the example he tells others about of a phenomenal horse and owner that has successfully survived the most severe of rotations from laminitis) and he's a fixture here at the ranch, and in many ways is responsible for my complete embracement of a natural, grassfed approach to raising my British White cattle.

It would kill him if he found his way to a pasture with grain in a feed bin, or a lick tub with weird protein sources added, or just snuck into the barn and found a feed bag that smelled good and looked like a good candidate for ripping into! I new I had to make it safe for Donny to live with some ease, for me to live with some ease from worry about him. A Grassfed approach to raising my cattle satisfied, resolved the situation. Alfalfa suits him fine, he never has any problems hanging with the cows and sharing their alfalfa, and of course I always watch my grass hay quality for anything that may hurt him.

The only problems I encounter with Donny running with the cows.........he becomes their authority figure! So he's by himself for the next few weeks, my heifers are in my Northwest Middle pasture and it has lots of pot holes towards a natural ravine and I don't like the risk of having him there. He can't run with the fall calvers because he might try to start directing my new baby calves around, and that won't do. So for now he's by himself for a bit and I leave the gate open to the grounds of the house off and on, he's a really good lawn mower! But the massive acorns that have dropped from the live oak tress around the house the past couple of weeks create some limits to how often he can come in and browse around the shrubs and hang out in the carport! He particularly likes to do a good trimming to the purple pampas grass -- it's surely good for it! Right?