Not to sound like a pouty, prancey County Island pleasure horse, which by now y’all know I surely ain’t, but a change has recently come upon on our little horse-corral the likes of which this ranch horse ain’t never seen before in all his days, and which he ain’t entirely sure he sees the practical point of. Well, that is to say, I can see what its point is meant to be, and what’s it’s meant to do. But what it’s meant to do is, well, to speak plainly, an abomination against horses. And that’s no exaggeration.
What it is is a contraption that at first I figured was a hay rack. Y’all know what those are, right? Where horses eat their hay from? This one’s big enough for three, maybe four horses to stand around and eat from, or two horses if you’re me and Original Coors – Coors Light can go stand and eat elsewhere, on account of he and his brother Coors don’t share real good when it comes to food. When it comes to them and feedin time, the one is more pushy than the other. And this new hay rack holds a helluva lot of hay! I was right pleased when it showed up, dumped out of the back of our bucket gal’s pickup truck by herself and the carrot guy. This, I said to myself, is gonna be some mighty fine open hay buffet! And I nickered my thanks to them repeatedly, sayin how deeply I love the County Island and my fine life here with all the hay a horse can eat!
And then, the “modifications” began. A modification, as far as most horses is concerned, means to make a thing worse than it was. The first modifications to the hay buffet was the appearance of great bottomless black pits that smelled like road tar, called “rubber mats,” placed all around the ground surroundin the hay rack. A horse can learn how to step upon the bottomless black tar pits without fallin into ‘em, thankfully. And eventually, the foul tar smell goes away. But then, the modifications became more worse. I can’t hardly stand to think of it, much less describe it. Let’s say it involved a thing called “mesh,” and leave it at that.
Our enormous multi-course open hay buffet has done been modified into bein a hateful thing that the bucket gal calls a “slow feeder”! And she says she done it for me, like makin a wretched modification such as that could be good for a horse. She says it’s to keep me from tossin hay out and spreadin it on the ground to eat, ‘cause for some reason, I ain’t supposed to eat off the ground no more. Ever. Nor is Coors nor Coors Light. She further said – and this makes very little practical sense to a horse – that when a horse eats off the ground, he eats sand, too, and in particular I got too much sand in my belly, which is also why I got to eat so much of my beloved sugary orange silly-yum these days. Well, yeah … but, so?
A horse can’t properly eat from an abominable slow feeder hay contraption. The bucket gal looked at my sorrowful face on the first night of its transformation from hay heaven to hay, pardon my french, hell, and she told me I got to learn how to nibble all day.
Well, I ain’t got time to nibble. I got things to do, such as take a long nap in the sunshine, and go stand in the shade with my butt against the trunk of the big palo verde tree, or go stand in the shade with my head hangin over the big water trough where the breeze feels good on my whiskers, or generally go keep an eye on the Coors brothers and the entire County Island that I can see from our horse-corral.
There was no such thing as a slow feeder back at the ranch. You hurried up and ate your breakfast on account of you had to get to work before sun-up and you wanted to get goin with a full belly. And they tossed your hay on the ground ‘cause there was no time for lolly-gaggin around with such a thing as nibblin from slow feeders.
The Coors brothers are predictably nibblin away at the danged thing like it ain’t a big deal. I reckon they don’t understand the deeper implications of it like I do. A horse has got to EAT, not nibble! And have the freedom to fling his own hay as he sees fit! Don’t horses have rights on the County Island anymore?
… But maybe I’ll go have a little nibble, just for now. It does get kinda hungry out here, standin on my principles like this …