I have always loved horses. As I little girl, I had a typical infatuation with the big beautiful animals. I dreamed of one day having my own.
Matt and I moved to Nebraska more than 15 years after my first horse ride as a vacationer in the mountains of Montana. As an adult, I put the dreams of having my own horse on hold for another nine years after changing my address to the Cornhusker State. I had set my sights on learning how to manage a cattle feed yard, and that was no small task for the East Coast urbanite.
My favorite farmer grumbled quite a little bit when I brought “my boys” home the summer of 2006. He worried that caring for them would add too much to my work load. In addition, he lamented the amount of feed that was required to keep the boys in good shape.
Over the years, Matt has mellowed toward the horses. He now affectionately calls them my “knot heads”, and does a great job growing the feed that they need. I graze them on grass in the summer, and an alfalfa field in the winter. When the winter weather gets especially cold, I supplement the boys with alfalfa dehy pellets and baled prairie hay.
We put the prairie hay up in small square bales that weigh 50-60 pounds. Gathering the bales and bringing them home is always an interesting chore!
Baling prairie hay (grass hay) that we are unable to graze allows us to make good use of our resources. Prairie hay is great feed for both horses and cattle. It also provides a way for our farm to make a sustainable cycle.