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News & Musings - Latigo Guest / Dude Ranch

Moving the horses to winter pasture.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A true sign of the shift between summer and winter seasons is the moving of our horse herd down to their winter pasture.  Over the years, that has been more of an ordeal than it is now.  We have pastured the herd with ranchers as far away as Walden and Fairplay, but for the past 6 winters, our good friends, the Taussigs, have agreed to feed our horses at their ranch conveniently located six miles away. 

Rather than hauling the horses with trucks and trailers, we can just push them on horseback down the old road that goes past the breakfast site.  They know what’s expected of them and rarely deviate from the road.  They keep up a strong trotting pace all the way to the pasture, and that meant we made the trip with all 71 horses in less than an hour.  Spencer led on horseback.  Randy and Hannah trotted along behind to keep the stragglers moving, and Lisa drove the Suburban down so we had a way to get home with our gear.  The ground was snow covered most of the way, and that made for somewhat slippery footing, but all went well.

Horse running in snow

When we buy hay for winter feeding, it’s delivered right to the Taussig ranch so that they can grab three big bales with their huge tractor and spread it out in the pasture as often as they need it.  We pay them a reasonable fee per horse per month, but it’s a vaued partnership for us.  Not only is the climate more mild down there, but the Taussigs are geared into feeding their cattle each day, so adding the care of our horses into their daily routine isn’t nearly as taxing on them as it would be on us.  They also are very attentive to the well-being of each horse.  This frees us up to take care of our winter skiing guests and to enjoy making loops in the meadow on our skis.

In the spring, we'll bring the horses back up to Latigo along the same route.  It's a good way to break in the wranglers at the start of another summer.