Friday, November 19, 2010

Kaimanawa qualities

Recently i was thrilled to be asked to do a little article about my wild horses. But it was hard to know exactly what to write. Did i discuss my experiences? how i trained them? Did i just write about the horses? about them as a breed and try to promote them? or just talk about them as individuals? Then i had a big think to my self. what was it i actually like most? what were the advantages and dis advantages compared to other horses?

in the end i settled for writing about a few key experiences and mentioning the positive attributes, they have compared to other equines. i wrote about Fern foaling, how she lay down next to me. I talked about the calm stoic attitudes, that make them so easy to work with. Their trainabiltly, and intelligence. What i didn't mention enough, and to me probably one of the main advantages. They are cheap to feed!!!. They live off the bare minimum of food and are very easy keepers. This is honestly in my books one of their biggest assets.

Horses are expensive creatures to maintain. having taken on ex race horses and a few skinny neglect cases, as well as having competition horses that require a lot of feeding. i can tell you, horses that tend to swing towards the chubby side, are a god send at times. i worked out once that it cost me over $2000 dollars and two years before i got one racehorse back to normal weight and even then she was such a nervous horse that it would only take a couple days before she lost it all again. Wild horses, no such issues.

When they arrived, they were skinny. No only that they were worm ridden, looked lacking in some vitamins and minerals. Generally looked shabby and thin. but only six months on and they are fat, glossy, healthy and calm animals. Unlike racehorses i havnt had to regimentally pump and coax feed into them. they haven't gone on to become super excitable or hot now that they are in good condition either. Although i haven't calculated it, i don't think i would have spent anywhere near 1/2 what it would have taken me to get a race horse looking good, with the two wild ponies together.

in fact Fern, started to look to good (think big fatty), someone even joked, that she might have a second foal still in her belly. So for the first time ever, i had to put a mare and foal, in a diet paddock. she has grass, but no the long lush stuff that is usually reserved for my mares and foals. She gets just enough feed to mix her vitamins in, and 1 flake of hay a day. Sonny the foal, is also the fattest foal i have ever seen. Due to his mother, producing enough milk, to feed a whole herd of baby horses. she must be the most efficient horse i ever seen at turning grass into milk.

Sonny is adorable he is the sweetest, chubbiest little boy i ever seen (iobviously putting all that milk to good use). he has the kindest looking eyes and an expression that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. he is so big now ,very compact,with a cresty little neck, I'm thinking he will definitely outgrow his mother, when hes fully mature.

I have another mare due any day now. I'm hoping that she will be half as good at feeding her baby, and keeping weight on as Fern. I wish i had more horses that needed diets, rather than constant feeding.So although i love everything about my wild horses, it is definitely the low maintenance, and cheapness to run, that my wallet is enjoying the most.