Saturday, September 8, 2012

Arabian Days

Today my DH and I went to visit the Arabian horse breeding farm.  It was a real treat for us to spend some time admiring the horses.  The best part was when they were given liberty in the ring and they raced around.  They were so quick, yet it seemed as though they were floating across the ring - effortless.

We spent some time outside in the paddocks getting to know the horses.  They were so friendly and gentle.  My DH went right up to them and gave them a pet.  I stood back a bit...

Mostly they were interested in getting some carrots from us.  Unfortunately they were disappointed since we weren't carrying their favorite treat.

Even a full fence-line of equine beauty couldn't magically make a carrot appear.  They liked us anyway.  I think this was more due to my DH's horse sense than my staring at them in awe.

Inside the main barn, the trainers were putting all of the horses through their paces.  And the horses put the trainers through their paces as well!  One young lady decided that there was no way she was going to go back to her stall.  After coaxing her, shaking plastic bags at her and attempting to bribe her with carrots, the trainer decided to just let her have some fun in the ring.  Once he decided that, she decided she was ready to go.  I know a pup like that...

These animals move fast and can turn on a dime.  When they are still young, they don't put saddles or carts on them yet.  And the Arabian's take a bit longer to mature than some of the other breeds of horses.  It's really a huge investment of time (and money) to raise them.

The foals are just trusting enough to wear their little training bridles, but they pay more attention to their mom than to the trainers.

It was so neat to see them racing across the ring in tandem.  Shadowing their mother's every move - always staying on the inside away from the onlookers.  So quick and confident.

Make no mistake about it, these are very well cared for horses.  Everyone from the owners to the stable men really are just so genuinely kind and attentive to these lovely beasts.

For the first few years, the foals are brushed and encouraged daily.  Rubdowns and pedicures keep them relaxed.  Lots of room to run.  Lots of other horses to hang out with.  Their training is slow and gentle - just at the pace that each individual horse needs so that they understand what their job is.  They even give the horse a chance to shine in each type of job that they are suited for - English, Western, driving, etc. - then they work with the horse to get the perfect fit.

You may have guessed that I'm not that familiar with all of the horse jargon.  I rode when I was a little girl, but since then I haven't had much opportunity to hang with the horses.  (My DH is much more of a horse person than I am.)

I can't help it, but I am a little - not so much afraid of, more like very respectful of them.  Okay, maybe a little afraid.  They are 3,000 pounds of muscle.  They stand about 3-feet taller than me.  Their hooves are sharp and reinforced with steel.  I even saw one of them sharpening her teeth on the bars of her stall.  They can nip off your finger as easier as they nip a carrot out of your hand.  Sure, I might be a little cautious around horses.

So why would I spend the afternoon with horses and horse people?  Simple.

This is where we get the composted mulch for our gardens.  These horses have their stable bedding replaced on a daily basis - and that makes for a nice rich composted mulch.  It's what we feed our flowers and naturally, I wanted to see what the horses were fed and how they were cared for.

I was so happy to learn that they are in a good, loving environment.  Their food is locally sourced and it is all organic - along with the bedding.  It definitely makes me feel good about using their composted mulch in my gardens.

And they are so beautiful.

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