Work at the Vaughn Equestrian Center doesn’t stop while the students are at home. There are 97 horses to care for and stables to clean and repair while they are in the pasture.
Workers caring for animals is one of the exempted categories under Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-in-place order issued earlier this week.
Ed Little, director of horsemanship operations at Culver Academies, said the 10-member stable crew is still making sure the horses are cared for seven days a week. Led by stable supervisor Don Relos, the team includes five other day staffers, two night staffers, and two part-time weekend people.
There are 93 horses currently divided between two pastures, as they normally would be over spring break. One newly acquired horse is in the quarantine stable and three are being kept on campus after seeing the veterinarian, Little said.
Every morning, the crew members go out and check on the horses in the pastures. The crew then moves indoors, where they are now thoroughly cleaning every stall and replacing several of the large rubber stall mats. Maintenance is also scheduled for the horse trailers and hay wagons, Little said, as is cleaning the ceiling fans, riding hall grandstands and windows. “There’s always something to do.”
While the horses have been turned out, they aren’t as visible as they normally are. They are being kept off of the CSM John “Sarge” Hudson pasture, which sets at the intersection of Indiana 10 and Indiana 17, for the time being.
Little explained the Hudson pasture needs time to recover from a late fall drought. Once the Hudson pasture catches up, it will be added into the rotation. The horses will then be divided among all three pastures covering a total of 170 acres. They are currently divided between the “North 80” along Indiana 10 and the newer Fleet Field pasture.
Turning the horses out early does save hay, which was starting to be a concern, Little said. The stable crew normally puts up 15,000 bales during a normal year. But the wet spring pushed back the first cut, so the crew didn’t get as many bales as normal last year.
Little said the plan is to reseed some of the fields and let them get established this year. This will help with grazing and hay production.