Horses are full of curiosity and ingenuity. It’s in their genes of course, but it’s also something they develop by learning. Wild horses use knowledge passed down from mare to filly for generations. During winter time, when the ground is frozen and covered by snow; food is scarse and hard to find.
…So our horses went down to the lower pastures to look for some “winter snacks” while waiting for lunchtime. First they used their front hooves like hands and claws to scratch and dig for grass and plants. It’s tiresome and doesn’t amount to much. Then Bluebell looked up. Maybe it’s something she’ve learned by watching her mother Black Spotted Socks way back at the Kuntz in North Dakota. It’s also possible it goes even further back in time, to some great great… grandmother who lived by the Little Missouri River near the little oak groves they used to visit at winter.
Not only giraffes can reach the delicate branches of trees. Bluebell keeps the lower branches in a horisontal and level trim all year. The thinnest branches of the alder trees is easy to shew and the bark is fairly palatable.
Alder wood may be translated to something like “good-for-nothing-wood” in some american languages, if I’m not mistaken. Because of it’s softness alder wood is not the first hand choice for any bow-maker or lodge-builder, it also burns pretty fast so it’s not the ideal firewood either.
Except for various minerals, the branches contains some starch and sugar. The taste seems okay, even to a horse, if Windflower will excuse me.
– It is a little too chewy to make you wanna fill up your belly with it, if you don’t have to, Windflower said with a twinkle of an eye. Perhaps not in so many words, but she sure speaks clear enough to me. Then she gave me that look again, you know, like when a teacher looks at her first grade student after explaining a simple assignment for the third time and you still don’t get it 😉
I wondered to myself … Is she trying to tell me someting about the size of the hay rations we give our horses, or maybe it’s about the frequency at which they are served and about how hard it is to be forced to eat tree branches for survival?
I looked into her eyes and pondered on … No, now look here Windflower, we give you four good meals a day and it’s amply too! You are no better than our dogs begging like that! I wonder who is being used here, really? After all; who is doing all the job and who is being served, I’m just asking?
Windflower stopped chewing and looked back at me and I swear she said …”No offence buddy, but you know Nokota horses won’t go for bold talk from a two-legger, so give me a break here, I am just trying to teach you something useful. Try one of these branches yourself if you don’t believe me.”
Rosie must have “overheard” us because she sneaked up on me and poked my shoulder, not for the first time and probably not the last, if I may add.
Rosie said “I’ll race you, last one to the stable is a looser” and before I could jump up on Windflowers back, or even think about it, they all took took off in a cloud of snow with Rosie in the lead. Do I need to tell you who lost….