We had our first big New England snow storm of the year! I snowed for an entire day and gave the horses some wonderful footing in the paddock! The horses were playful with each other in the snow and almost all of them rolled around giving themselves ‘snow baths’ as Alicia likes to call them. The snow is fluffy still because we are going through a bit of a cold snap. Very early to have this type of weather but we certainly don’t mind it. We, and the horses, much prefer snow to rain.
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May is here and bringing cooler weather! The horses are loving the 50 and 60 degree temperatures! The herd this morning was particularly sassy and many of the horses were running around and bucking as we threw the hay from the trailer. We love watching the horses run free an have a playful morning. Only one more month until counselors and campers arrive and summer camp begins!
With springtime here in full force and the weather warming up, some of our horses are looking particularly well-fed. We are beginning to decrease the hay and grain we feed out to make sure our horses stay healthy. Many horse people know the intricacies of the equine digestive system, but for those who don’t we can share a little information about the uniqueness of horses digestive system.
Horses grasp food using a combination of their lips, tongue, and teeth. Their teeth never stop growing and essentially the constant chewing grinds down the teeth to a healthy level. Horses have one stomach that is relatively small for their size and a very long digestive tract after their stomach. We always want our horses to eat hay before grain and to have water available at all times. The reason Road’s End Farm has such a specific order of eating is because we
have so many horses and want to reduce the risk of colic (stomach ache) within our herd. Since grain is more difficult to digest, we want the horses to have hay and water before the grain so that it doesn’t put extra stress on their digestive tracts. Like humans, horses have a small intestine and a large intestine (sometimes referred to as the hind gut) which does most of the nutrient absorption. The horses then have a large colon and a small colon which
completely absorb the nutrients and prepare the waste for excretion! Horses actually have very sensitive stomachs and always want to be monitored for stomach aches. We always want to make sure each horse is accounted for at feeding and is happily munching on grain.
With colic, an upset stomach, as the number one cause of equine death, educating all horse people about digestive health in horses is one of the most important aspects of horse care. At Road’s End Farm, our horses are fed in the morning and at night time, a chore which every camper helps out with during the summer, and an opportunity to see the importance of maintaining a low-stress environment and feeding horses the proper amount of hay and grain with the opportunity to drink water.
As we continue with our normal chores of feeding the horses, fixing fences, and making sure all the horses are happy and healthy, we are still having mixed emotions about this unusually warm weather. On one hand, we are certainly enjoying the sun, on the other hand, this hot weather in February isn’t what the horses are used to and it can be tough on their body with a winter coat. We are also having some early mud with all of the snow melting away. Despite our mud season saying hello to us a little bit sooner than normal, one has to wonder if this will help us out down the road and make our true mud season not as muddy? We will certainly find out.
The best part about being a summer horseback riding camp for girls, is that we get to run our camp during one of the best seasons – summer! Allowing for all types of outdoor activities – canoeing, hiking, swimming, and most importantly, horseback riding in our rings and on our trails.
Being a summer riding camp in New England, we must endure the year round New England weather. Despite it being February, the temperature has been in the high 50’s the past few days, and our horses are certainly not ready for this weather change. For us humans, the sun feels beautiful and the spring weather is refreshing, but for our furry friends, this weather isn’t as nice. We are making sure all of our horses get water, much like we do during summer camp, and we are monitoring our old horses to make sure they aren’t getting too hot. Although we love our summer weather, we are looking forward to cooler temperatures next week for the thermoregulation of our pasture pals.
For 3 months out of the year, we are a summer camp where campers, farm life, and horseback riding take control of our lives. The rest of the year, we are a working horse farm where the animals and people enjoy quiet nature. As the horses grow their winter coats to keep warm, us people bundle up and take care of all the animals that call Road’s End Farm home. We love our seasons in New England! Happy Winter!
Many camps close for the off-season, but with 69 horses and many acres to maintain, we don’t have the luxury of an 8-month vacation! We love the farm work and the change of seasons is refreshing each time there is a significant change. The horses love playing in the snow, as they are much more durable than humans, and they don’t mind the cold. This picture of the new barn was caught right as these large flakes were falling and the farm had a clean, white blanket laid over the premises.