Sunday, 1 May 2011

6. The Feeding Frenzy

The Feeding Frenzy

It was yet another cold day at Equinox Acres. It had been snowing and the fields were full of the stuff. Abigail glanced out of the staffroom window and could just make out Tamarind's dark grey form amongst the snowdrifts. She looked at her watch. It was getting late and he had been trotting up and down the fence for nearly ten minutes now. It was time to bring him in...

Clearly, Lusitanos weren’t made for colder climates!

As she opened the gate she noticed a large green bucket lying in the snow. It looked like someone had left it there by accident so she decided to take it with her back to the yard. She needed to feed Tam anyway so she might as well bring it with her en route to the feed room...

"Taaaaam...Tamarind! Come on boy, teatime!"

No sooner than she'd mentioned food, a large grey lump streaked past her and thrust its nose into the bucket.

"Oh for heaven's sake Tam, it's EMPTY!"

Tamarind snorted. What was the point of bringing him an empty bucket…there must be something edible somewhere...

"Anything I can help you with?"

Abigail turned round to see David trudging through the snow towards them.

“I was coming to see Tam but as you seem to be taking him away I’ll come with you instead!”

Abigail smiled and David pulled the bucket away from Tam’s questing nose.

“Tell you what Dave, could you take him to the stables and clean him up a bit? I need to sort out the feeds and it’s getting late…”

David smiled and nodded.

“No problem.” He rubbed Tam’s nose affectionately and walked off towards the yard with the stallion following him like a puppy. “Come on monster…just don’t you dare mess up the suit again…do you know how much it costs to clean?...”

Chuckling, Abigail picked up the bucket and headed off to the feed room. It was warmer on the yard as the afternoon sun had melted most of the snow and the movement of horses and riders had turned the remainder into slush which, even now, was being swept out of the yard by some of the helpers.

She walked up to the feed room, pulled a ‘Munchit’ off the door (David had left it out for her earlier to give to Tam) and put it on the counter along with the bucket.

She rubbed her hands together to warm them up and looked around the room. Where to begin?

“Aha!” She always consulted the feeding posters before she did anything else. They provided invaluable information on what to feed horses of different weights and types and in different sorts of work.

“Right!” Satisfied that everything was in order she washed out the green bucket which she had now established was just a random yard bucket that anyone could use, and added some coarse mix.

After that, she added some freshly picked forage that included some rather tasty and nutritious herbs from her own garden. Abigail was a big believer in natural remedies and always found that a handful of fragrant herbs usually did the trick.

What was next? She looked around the room, confusion etched on her face.

David had been tidying again.

She could never find anything once he’d been let loose in a room! Sighing, she rummaged around until she found what she was looking for – sugarbeet. It had been left to soak earlier in the day but she reckoned it could do with a few minutes more.

As she waited for it to soak she decided to add the supplements. Tam didn’t usually need a great deal of supplements but it was cold and he tended to lose condition over the winter months.

After a bit of consideration she measured out a small quantity of Electro-Salts and added them to the mixture. Next came the seaweed. According to the label ‘Seaweed is one of the best sources of trace elements available including a whole range of vitamins, up to 20 minerals and all ten essential amino acids. When fed, an improvement in coat colour and hoof condition is often seen.’ “Well, that sounds perfect!” Abigail remarked and added a heaped scoopful to the bucket.

The sugarbeet was finally ready, so she added some of that to the mixture as well. It smelled rather nice and Abigail couldn’t help thinking that it reminded her of her own cooking…well…in appearance perhaps.

“What am I forgetting?” Abigail frowned. She knew she’d left something out…but what? Sighting a bottle of something on the shelf, she took it down and examined it. ‘Herbal Breathing’

She frowned again. Tam had been coughing a little bit but she’d put it down to the hay that someone had forgotten to soak. She took one last look at it before replacing it back on the shelf.

If it got any worse, she’d ask the vet before she gave him anything in case it was serious. The feed was just about finished, all it needed now was a small amount of pony nuts and a couple of carrots and…

“David? Is that you?”

A voice spoke from behind the door and David’s head poked round the frame. “I’m not staying long, I just wanted to give you Tam’s bucket back. It looks like one of the liveries found it and used it for their horse as their own one had gone missing.” Abigail smiled. “And was that bucket a green one by any chance?” David nodded.
“It was actually, I take it you’ll swap them over then?”
Abigail nodded back.
“I was just finishing up anyway.”
She took the purple bucket from David and tipped the newly made feed into it before handing David back the green one. “I won’t be long, I just need to add another couple of bits and pieces then I’ll go and feed Tam.”

As David left with the bucket, Abigail searched for the bag of pony nuts that she knew were lurking in a corner somewhere. “Aha!” Well hidden under a box of apples, she eventually discovered the bag and added a liberal helping to the bucket.

She knew she was missing something else and added a little extra seaweed as some of it had fallen out in the transfer process. Tam loved the taste anyway so he’d definitley appreciate an extra helping.

She glanced out of the window. It was starting to get quite dark now and she could almost hear Tam’s frantic squeals as he told the entire world that he was hungry.

“Right, It's finally finished!”
Her job completed, Abigail picked up the now full bucket and the Munchit from earlier, walked out of the feedroom and bolted and locked the door.

As she approached Tam’s stable she could hear him kicking the door and whinnying loudly. “Oh for heaven’s sake Tam, it’s coming! You’re not going to die of starvation in the minute and a half it takes me to get to you!”

Tam’s reply consisted of a short, shrill whinny and a highly insulted snort.

Abigail just managed to open the door in time for Tam to stick his nose in the bucket without breaking the door down first. “Honestly Tam, you really are a greedy so and so aren’t you?” The Lusitano removed his head from the bucket and looked at her. Greedy?



1 comment:

  1. Awesomesauce xD

    May I ask what is all of the stuff in the feed room, and.. Well.. How can I make some?