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August 2022 Horse Report

Annie grazing

Here in Colorado, summers are long-awaited, and then over before you know it. As we like to say, there are four seasons here: winter, winter, winter, and road construction. We’ve been blessed with a normal monsoon weather pattern lately, which has kept the irrigation flowing and the grass green. Most importantly, the county I live in is officially out of drought and we have no wildfires so far this year.

While the moisture has brought good yields in the hay fields, the price of hay is at an all time high at about $400 a ton. But honestly, it’s not that much more than it’s been in drought years when the supply is low.

Fall is when we make our annual hay purchase, so we’ve been busy shopping around this month. I am fortunate to live amid prime hay-growing country and many, many big ranches. No matter what it costs, having a year’s worth of high-quality horse hay stored in my barn is a great feeling⁠. We are only feeding four horses this winter, but you never know when there might be another mouth to feed.

We will buy 16 tons of hay, and we’ve considered small bales, big bales and delivery cost. There are pros and cons to all. We’ve decided to try something new this year—compacted small bales, purchased in 18-bale bundles that weigh about 950 pounds. It’s pricey, at about $450/ton, but we think it will be easier to move and store. The jury’s still out⁠—I’ll keep you posted.

My little mare, Annie, and I have both been enjoying some lazy summer days. She likes to splash in our pond, while I like to splash on the lake. Our summer hiatus is coming to a halt soon, so I am starting to work on legging her back up in preparation for my fall clinics at C Lazy U.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s fit. If I’m not riding, she still gets daily exercise free-longeing with Casper (and sometimes Mel’s horses), but nothing really replaces the conditioning that comes from a horse being saddled and ridden.

Annie would much prefer that we ride her bareback (which usually means less work for her), but she must be accustomed to the saddle and weight-bearing. When I teach at clinics, I will be riding her all day, and both of us need to be in tip-top shape for that!

As summer winds to an end, I’ll be squeezing in as much seasonal fun as I can. Beyond riding, I love to stand up paddle board, fish, and mountain bike. I live for what I call a 3-P Day—Pilates, Paddling, then Pedaling (and sometimes I substitute fishing for one of them).

In September, I’ll be back on the road for a six-week stretch teaching clinics stateside and abroad in Ireland, and doing demos and presentations at the Certified Horsemanship Association’s International Conference.

Plans for 2023 are starting to take shape, and you can always find the most up-to-date information on my public appearances and clinic schedule here. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I hope to see you when I’m on the road!

Julie Goodnight (signature)
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