My two year old, turning three on Sunday, thoroughbred colt Scorpy loves a bran mash. Due to physical problems, he’s not turned out with his red-headed cohorts, Windy and Breezie. They aren’t very nice to him and Scorpy is a momma’s boy.
He has been since he was born; he was one of “my kids” at the last farm where I worked. Since I am no longer there, I can say that he was the victim of the worst veterinarian I have ever dealt with, who thank heavens has decamped to Canada. Pity Canada.
Because of this vet’s misjudgement and “treatment”, Scorpy ended up in two front leg casts when he was one day old. (Upon hearing that, anyone who knows foals just cringed.) During my shift, I was there to help him up to nurse and lay down to rest. He never gave up and was always game.
Finally, a senior vet from the practice interceded and the casts were removed, but Scorpy needed physical therapy to learn how to flex his knees. At least once every hour, I would go in with him, pick up each front leg and bend and flex it. For months, the rubs and pressure points from the casts were treated with salves and ointments and a daily shot of penicillin in his butt. The wounds were slow to heal and when they did, the hair came back white, zig-zagging down his chestnut legs.
Scorpy is mine now, he’s kind of spoiled, a great character and good friends with my (his) dog Kingston. Scorp’s always been a good eater, and relishes a nice sloppy bran mash. When he sees me measuring out the bran, he hoots and hollers and bangs on his stall door.
Here’s how he likes his mash:
1 2-quart scoop of sweet feed
2 2-quart scoops of wheat bran
1/2 a coffee can of soybean meal
1/2 cup of molasses or a cup of dark brown sugar
coarsely cut up carrots are nice, but not necessary
maybe toss in a handful of pro-biotics if he’s been on bute or banamine
Scorpy doesn’t like his mash tricked out with garlic powder or apple slices.
All this goes in a bucket with the sweet feed on the bottom. Then because I don’t have hot running water in the barn, a 5-second blast of water from the hydrant, maybe 2 gallons, then I roll up my sleeve and mix it up by hand. I pour/dump the bucketful into his feed tub, nudging him out of the way when he tries to get his head in the mash before it’s dispensed.
There’s a sound when Scorpy eats his mash, a munching, slurping. His head is in his tub and he’s all business. It’s a meal he loves and a ritual that calms me. I know that if Scorpy is cleaning up his feed, then at that moment everything is OK.