Nine horses call Cross Creek Cattle Company home. During the fall and winter, they graze in small fenced-in pastures. Then we lead them to their stall in the horse barn to spend the night. We feed them grain and plenty of fresh hay. In the morning we feed them grain again and then lead them back to the small pasture for exercise, fresh air, and some grass. Then we can spend two hours a day cleaning the stalls.
Compared with the Beefmaster cattle we raise, horses are much more time-consuming and expensive to raise. We buy their feed, supplements, and hay. Shavings are needed to spread over the floor of their stalls. These things all cost money. Horses also require training, exercising, and riding. And, this requires time. In addition, the ferrier comes out every six weeks to trim hooves. Horses are high-maintenance, plain and simple.
With the wonderful rain that we have been receiving this summer, our pastures are filled with tall, green grass. We always have our cattle rotating pastures to ensure that plenty of fresh grass is being consumed. While the cattle are eating grass in one pasture, the grass in the other pastures are growing.
This summer we have also let the horses have a vacation from their routine. We have released them into a large pasture full of grass that also has a 3 acre pond. At first the horses’ heads went down to taste the tall grass. It did not take long before the excitement of being in a new place caused them to forget the grass and run as a herd.
It was one of the times I wished that I had my video camera. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Like a herd of wild horses, they ran over the pasture, up a hill, down the hill, around in large circles, in figure eights, etc. I don’t know what was more beautiful: the beauty of the horses themselves moving as one or if it was the landscape in which the ran. The sky was bluer than blue; the grass was swaying in the light breeze. Thinking back, it had to be the combination of the two.
They settled down and then noticed the pond. Every single one of the horses stepped out into the water. Some literally went for a swim. They were completely enjoying themselves.
Weeks later, the horses are still enjoying their freedom. They have all kept up their condition on grass only, including the oldest horse, Ladd. We are enjoying not having to clean any stalls. Raising horses on grass is much more economical, which is why both equine and human alike are enjoying the summer here at Cross Creek Cattle Company.