Every morning at 0545 I get the coffee brewing and head out the door to feed. We have an old beat up Ford truck that serves as the ranch feed truck. Anyone who says Fords, American made vehicles, don't stand the test of time, I'll beg to differ. At over 250k miles, Big Red takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. I load up two bales of Bermuda and three bales of Alfalfa (each bale runs about $15 x 5 x 2x a day =$150/day! Plus grain. We go through about $1000-1500/mo in grain). We have grain buckets for the pasture, grain buckets for Milton's herd, for Lilac's herd, and for the The Pony herd. We free feed. So, enough food is placed that there is always food available. Before I take off to make the rounds, Hodor, Hank, and Hickock, our pigs, get their breakfast. Hodor is let out and he joins me as we make our way around the ranch. Feeding takes about an hour and it is one of my favorite times of the day. There is a quiet peacefulness that I love when you greet the sun to the sounds of horses happily munching away.
After feeding, I take the much needed coffee break. NEVER skip this important step!
With just under ten acres, there is always upkeep needed. Every time I mark something off of the list, I add two more. So, my morning may include some type of fence repair, weed wacking, mowing, etc. Then, on to chores. We have three large paddocks and a 4-5 acre pasture in use. It just isn't practical and would be way too time consuming to pick up the poo of 50+ animals. I do rake and muck the pig pens. They get fresh water and their mud holes are replenished. Then, I hook up our homemade 'dragger' to the Ranger (utility vehicle) and start grooming the paddocks and pastures. The dragger works by breaking up poo, turning it over, and basically breaking it down to dirt. It works great and keeps the areas looking polished. If water tubs or auto waterers need bleaching/cleaning (When it warms up, we go through 2-3 gallons of bleach a week), I do that as well. All in all, it takes about three hours.
Depending on the time, I may have to take a trip to town for errands. Around 4 P.M. dinner is served. Paula, friend and volunteer, is almost always there to help. Evening feed is just a repeat of morning's. When I am finished, I make up bowls of grain for our older residents that need a little extra TLC. We could take them out and keep them housed separately so they can maintain weight, but we prefer everyone lives in large spaces and herds. It makes for happier, healthier horses, and it is a simple, effective alternative to just pull them out for supplemental grain. Our current list of oldies is Lucent, Cowboy, Miss Kitty, and Chester. They LOVE this time of day and meet me at the gate to come out. Now, I can't just spoil those four! Nooooo. So, while they are enjoying a meal, I spend time handing out treats, brushing, and spending one on one time with everyone. It is a chance to see who needs trims, if anyone has any cuts or scrapes, to groom, etc.
Finally, I call it a day, around 630 P.M. and it's family time. I hit the pillow early because tomorrow I have to greet the sun again.
Would you like to come experience what a day at Toby's Legacy is like? Every third Saturday of the month, from 11-3, we have Visitor's Day. Come on down and meet all of our residents. Learn their stories and share in the experience that makes TLER so special. Interested in volunteering? This is a great way to get started. See you there!