As a South-Coast bumpkin, I never really had my horses in snow, unless you count the usual one-day affair with a few inches of fun before the inevitable melt-and-muck. It never affected feeding, just made poo-collection more arduous. But when we moved north, I was told by locals I wouldn’t have to feed hay until January, because the horses would paw through the snow. I was intrigued, due to my ongoing nerdery regarding wild-ish behaviours and more natural forage.
The snow came late, and I actually did start hay feeding before it came because at a certain point in late November, the horses just flat out refused to eat the grass that was in their pasture. It wasn’t very luscious, to be sure, but there was a whole lot of it just…sitting there…while they hung their sad little heads longingly into the back yard. FINE! Twist my rubber horse mama arm.
But once the snow finally did fall, those sad little heads appeared less constantly, and these little marks started to appear all over the pasture:
For some reason unknown to me, the grass that had, two days previous, been utterly foul and inedible was suddenly worth digging for – and worth snorkeling in the snow for. Pretty darn cute (and good for the hay bill)!
Here they are in action – this was apparently a very good spot, as indicated by Amalia and Fly’s enthusiasm:
Are you ready for my Dad-joke? Okay: Slow-Feeder? More like…Snow-Feeder. Thank you, thank you very much.
I love that, having never learned this behaviour in the balmy south, they put two-and-two together and figured it out. Ten points for rewilding!
Hope you’re all keeping warm out there…
Click here for Part 9 in this series.