The way I have been traveling for the past couple of weeks provides plenty of physical rest for the horses. Every third day, each horse gets to walk along behind the trailer without working. Even with this arrangement, I still need rest days for two reasons, first, to give the horses a psychological break and allow them some time to just be horses, and also time to get some extra feed in them. When we’re traveling 10 hours a day, the team doesn’t have enough time to sleep and get enough hay in them to replace all of the calories they burn in a day. I can fill in most of the calories by feeding concentrates. Three times a day, each horse gets about 5 pounds of oats and corn for each feeding. This fills in the calorie gap and allows them to hold their weight. On top of this, they still need a large amount of grass or hay to keep them healthy and their digestive system working properly. Without concentrates, our pioneer ancestors must have had a hard time keeping flesh on their animals as they traveled.
The next few days will see us moving through southern Illinois. I now plan on crossing the Mississippi River in the town of Chester. After talking with some of the locals, I decided this was the best route.
It’s a rainy day today; a good day to get some rest and do a little writing. Tomorrow, we’re headed west once more.