Ok, someone if obviously very adamant that I am not doing something right. Anonymous called the city Animal Control (what there is of it) and they showed up this morning. Again, he saw no problems, although, this officer admitted that he has no knowledge or understanding of horses. He's had a "course" in it, and knows the minimum standards for care, which in Texas isn't much!
Livestock must have access to food and water. That's it. That's the law for "proper care" of livestock. Horses are livestock. Makes you a bit sick doesn't it?
Of course, the officer also mentioned that they get a ton of these calls for all sorts of crazy things. I'm down to 5 bales of hay in my barn (hay guy will be bringing more soon) and today is a day to pick up more grain... so I only have about 100 pounds in the bin. AND THAT'S ENOUGH for AC to write it off.
Yeah, I'm a bit more disturbed about today's call. I expected to have to provide numbers, but he said there's nothing he could do because I meet the minimum, and the horses do NOT look poorly kept. But here's what gets me the most.... some one thinks there's a problem! I really wish that person would come and talk to me. I could reassure them about my care practices, or see if there's something I have missed. I mean, it's always possible that I don't know something.
Here's my other thought: What if someone who keeps horses on lush grass did decide to begin graining and haying because of calls like this, and then foundered a bunch of horses? I know that for me, it makes me feel bad thinking that someone out there feels that my horses aren't perfectly kept. Is it because I don't keep them stalled? I have a barn, but not as many stalls as I have horses. Many of my horses hate being stalled, because they were raised on thousands of acres.
My property is half in city, and half in county, so I was visited by both officers. Works for me. I do wish that the city AC officer was a bit better versed in livestock, but then again, what do they need to know about it for? There are TWO properties in their district that have livestock. Myself, and someone on the north side of town.
Ironically, after the officer left, we threw out the lunch time hay to the horses not on grass. None were interested. Too hot, too much grain earlier in the day. I'm sure they're picking at it, but obviously it's not me trying to fool myself... they aren't really interested.
So, I'm going to do a very non scientific experiment. Lets see if the calls slow down once the pretty fencing is up. We're removing the ugly mobile home that came with the property, and replacing it with a nice looking house. We're updating the fencing and the barn siding. All of that should really improve the property's appearance. Jae proposed that whom ever is calling might be jealous. I don't know, I hate to think such things about people.
But with so many struggling, and our property is near a lower income neighborhood, it could be true. I have someone ask me for work about once a week, and sadly, I can't afford any more employees until business picks up. And when I CAN, I'm sure not going to hire most of the people who come begging. Break my horse in 2 hours... NO! Show up with beer stains on your shirt... NO!
On a brighter note... Katy is feeling GOOD! She tore her suspensory tendon a while back, and has been on pasture to recover. This is the horse that someone asked me if I knew was lame, because her wraps matcher her coat (next box of vet wrap will be BRIGHT orange!). Well, she's running, bucking and playing today. Last night at sundown, she was racing full tilt (for a draft) across the pasture, with out an uneven step. I think we'll see how she's doing this evening, and see if I can get her back into work.
A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses
I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.