The horses can be observed from most of the house windows before stepping out in the morning. A head count is taken and assessments of how they are grazing, moving, or resting. The horses always have access to feed and water, so they aren't ever anxiously waiting to be fed, kicking over a dry bucket, or resorting to a restless habit. Rotational grazing supports healthy, abundant, living feed. Depending on the weather and time of the year, the horses do go into his or her stall daily. She will have access to grass hay grown on the farm and locally bought hay that is a combination of alfalfa and orchard grass. Free choice mineral/vitamins and concentrates in some combination of pelleted feed are soaked and fed by feed individually. The beds are layers of straw, grass hay, and shavings cleaned daily, so the stalls are fresh smelling and free of insects. The stall waste is recycled on the land by hand, so the condition of the grazing, weeds, and soil condition are observed regularly too. Water buckets are hand filled and hand heated in the winter, always with clean water daily. The drinking water in the house is what the horses drink in the barn. Each of the four fields have automatic water systems that are connected to a commercial water system. The water was tested as well and found to be very good quality.
Living with the horses allows for observation throughout the day. Handling them in and out of the field every day provides another observation of soundness, behavior, and anything noteworthy with the eyes, legs, and body. Large fields help reduce injuries and living as a group inspires a lot of walking. I see how transforming it is for development of a healthy barefoot horse, streamlining of the bodies, and fluid travel pattern. The mixture of young and old works well for group dynamics--wisdom of the elder and movement of the younger. The stable horses help new horses to integrate and horses new to turn out how to find comfort in being a horse.
There is a daily assessment of the horses for soundness, symmetry, and wellness . The indoor arena provides a soft surface and sometimes a place to turn out if the weather doesn't allow. Practicing good land stewardship principles translates to healthy living surfaces for the horses. The outdoor arena, unfenced area (equivalent to two full-sized dressage courts, side-by-side) doubles as a dry lot inside one of the four grazing fields, so overall, lots of living options.
The farrier lives 15 minutes away and is very experienced with transitioning horses from wearing shoes and/or managing bare feet. The veterinarian is an equine specialist and focuses on sport horses and breeding. Another part of the team is a holistic practitioner with knowledge of herbs, acupuncture, and chiropractics. If something bigger is required, there are major veterinarian hospitals in Lexington.
The schedule is according to what they need rather than what fits in a limited work day schedule. The barn is right out the back door, so day/night checks are easily part of the flow. The horses are part of the farm family. For the harmony to flow, attention to detail for a living, interactive being is the key. Fly masks and winter blankets are seasonal. Special medications are as needed. Routine dental care, health assessments, and worming/vaccinations are to be determined on the beliefs and needs. Grooming and hooves cleaned regularly. No mane pulling or clipping. Hair is a good protection.
Sue has a history of communicating well with owners about their horse's state of being. Arrangements are made according to the owner's preference for photos, videos, etc. Sue is also the grounds keeper and barn care attendant, so she is involved with the entire farm on a daily and personal basis. All a remarkable opportunity for harmony in stewardship.
Sue, " The land (woods and meadows) and horse management are a heartfelt privilege and labor of love."
Long turnouts are crucial for a horse's well being. They are designed to move and graze. Going out as a small herd encourages movement and emotional stability. The barn and 40 plus grazing acres supports 8 horses in proper alignment.
Retirement still requires daily soundness assessments. Noticing small changes and new care requirements supports the aging journey. Resting horses and young horses get the same daily attention to detail. Handling the horses twice a day is part of the alignment and intention for the harmony.
Four seasons requires a lot of decisions and flexibility. Horses can enjoy the diversity, but it involves daily observation. The moisture in the ground, the stage of grass growth, winds, snow, sun, and humidity are all part of the variables that change hour-by-hour. The schedule is according to the moment.
The large indoor arena provides an option for turnouts in inclement weather. The herd all fits inside of the spacious area. We all know that horses like to roll in sand too!
A well designed barn supports clean, dry stalls. Living in a heavy grass area with dew and bugs, there is a value in stall time. Fans are part of the optimization. Doors that close it all up are great for winter and windy times too.
The 100' long roof extension area is another option for the horses to get out of the sun or rain. It opens into one of the four grazing fields, so the horses have choices. There is also an over-sized, open dry-lot that the horses have another sand area too.
Both traditional veterinary and holistic care are available as needed. Medical, acupuncture, chiropractic, and herbologist are all part of the supportive team.
The farrier has extensive experience with top medical teams in Lexington, but resides 15 minutes away. Experience transitioning horses to barefoot for comfort and balance.
The question of how to handle end of life is a heart wrenching, but important part of elderly care. There is a plan and support for this auspicious moment if needed.