The valley comes back to life

Springtime in Colorado is such an exciting time.  After sitting dormant under a blanket of snow all winter long, the valley starts to come back to life.  The snow melts, the green grass starts peeking through, the crocuses bloom, and the baby cows and horses start to arrive.  It is hard to not be exuberant during this time, as the whole area is just bursting with new life.

Because of that blanket of snow all winter long, we have to feed our horses daily with huge bales of grass hay that was grown in the valley the previous season.  If you’ve ever shuddered at the grocery bill of a family with a bunch of teenagers, just imagine the hay bill for roughly 100 hungry horses.  As long as there is enough snow on the ground, we use our draft horse team and a feed sleigh to sling bales out to the horses.  Our guests, visiting the ranch for a winter vacation, enjoy helping us with this task.  Or, at least we think they enjoy it…. However, come spring when the snow has melted but there still isn’t grass, we switch over to feeding with our tractor and big, round bales.  Then, there is the delightful time, when the grass is growing well enough and we don’t have to feed the horses anymore.  The family who Homesteaded the ranch was smart enough to choose a valley where the grass grows thick, unlike much of Colorado.  During the summer months, our horses get all the nutrition they need from the fresh grass growing in the meadows.

Yesterday marked the transition from those daily feedings to the lazy days of grazing in the pastures.  We moved the horses out into the Homestead pasture, so we could rest the winter pasture for a while.  There isn’t quite enough grass to keep us from feeding them some, but it is a milestone to make this move.  Summer must be coming soon!