A Family Endeavor Jubilee Horse Boarding Farm

Every day, they must feed 34 horses. They take them outside to the fields to graze, care for any injuries, clean stalls, and turn up the riding arena.

Janet, Rick, Erin, Steven, and Julia Hollenbeck live on the property of Jubilee Horse Boarding Farm. They are the prime caretakers of the property almost every weekday, from sunup past sundown. On Friday and Saturday, some of their friends come out to help, but for the most part, they do all the work themselves.

The Hollenbeck family bought the land in 2000, and by late 2001, their business began. "We were boarding horses before the barn was finished," Janet explained.

Janet carries grain to feed the horses. Before Janet even begins to pour the grain into their feed buckets, the horses start stomping their feet, rattling their stalls with excitement for their breakfast.

The horse's owner decides how much grain the horse receives. Some horses only receive a single cup of grain, while others receive two or three, as well as additional supplements. Each owner sends instructions to the Hollenbecks detailing the type of grain for their horse.

Trash cans full of grain. The Hollenbecks spend $500-$600 a month on grain. Each can holds a different type of grain, such senior grain for older horses and softer grain for horses with sensitive stomachs.

The whiteboard on the wall lists each horse and instructions for what types of grain to feed them. For example, some horses require their grain to be soaked, due to health problems. Any instructions like this would go on the whiteboard.

Supplement packets. Some horses require supplements along with their food. Supplement packets are similar to large pill packets, so the food can be popped out into a feed bucket. These supplements, for a horse named Echo, are senior supplements for joint pain. Not all horses require supplements, Janet explained, some are “easy keepers.”

Next to the grain cans is a set of plastic drawers that house all the supplements. Janet has to ensure that each horse receives the correct supplements by writing the names of the horse on each drawer.

Janet takes Indigo outside. Rick and Janet turn the horses out daily before cleaning their stalls. At night, they must bring all the horses back in to protect them from cold weather. If it is warm outside, especially in the summer, the horses are left outside all night.

Indigo, the horse in the picture, is not white with brown spots. His coat is usually all white. The brown spots come from the sawdust on the floor his stall. "He slept really well," Janet explained, because he was lying down, which causes the mess of sawdust.

Hunter out in his field. Jubilee farm has large fields where they turn the horses out every day. There is a "definite pecking order" in each field, Rick explains. Hunter, he says, is the “big boss” of his field, and he must bring Hunter in first to prevent altercations between horses.

Putting a group of horses in a field is "a matter of trial and error," Rick explained, some horses get along very well, while others tend to fight. Rick told a story of how he was caught between two horses who were fighting. While he was kicked several times, he was never kicked in the head. "There's definitely a danger to [the work]," he said.

Cleaning stalls. Stalls are cleaned daily after the horses are turned out. Julia explained that cleaning stalls is easier in the summer. Because the horses are kept outside at night during the summer. The more the horse is outside, the cleaner their stall will be.

Once Janet finishes cleaning a stall, Rick takes the bucket outside and dumps it in a trailer. When the trailer is full enough, they will drive around their property and dump the manure out as fertilizer.

Catastrophic, or Cat, is a 20-year-old saddlebred who was a world champion in Mane and Tail, a category of competition for horses with long, luxurious manes and tails. He used to have a long flowing tail, Janet explained. "It came way out [several feet behind him]," she said, as she moved a few feet behind him. Now his tail is shorter, because he is not competing anymore, but it is still beautiful.

Cat’s owner is nearly 80 years old now, so does not come out to the farm anymore. "Four years ago she just dropped him off and hasn't been back since," Janet said. His owner continues to pay rent, however, so the Hollenbeck family is happy to take care of him.

Julia grooms Cat. Because of Cat’s age, along with a club foot, he does not go outside very often. A club foot, Julia explained, is fairly common for Cat's breed, however, it does not affect his quality of life.

Julia is Cat's prime caregiver. She does not ride him due to his age, but she brushes him and ensures he is well cared for. Julia grooms Cat while Janet cleans his stall. Hair flies everywhere when she grooms him. In the summer, Julia explained, it is even worse. "You can just grab handfuls [of hair]," she said.

Taking care of the riding arena. Half of the main barn is devoted to an arena where owners can ride their horses or give horseback riding lessons. The floor of the arena is covered in sawdust, which Rick turns up with a tractor every day. Turning up the field keeps the sawdust soft for the horses’ feet.

The Hollenbecks use their arena to host horseback riding lessons. There are several teachers who work here with their students at different skill levels. Regardless of skill, safety is an important concern. Posted on the walls are notifications that, if someone is under 18, they are required to wear a riding helmet. They keep an old cracked helmet to remind their riders of the dangers of riding a horse.

The hay loft, nearly empty. Janet explained that after “first cut,” which takes place in May, the hay will reach the ceiling and several feet into the arena. First cut hay, she explained, is the cheapest and the least caloric. The later the cut, the more caloric the hay is. Later cut hay, Janet explains, causes what is known as “hay belly.”

During hay cutting season, hay is available in either round or rectangular bales. For regular feeding, the Hollenbecks use rectangular bales. Sometimes they will buy a few round bales to put in their fields. Round bales are wrapped with white plastic after they are cut, which earns them the affectionate nickname of "marshmallows."

Charlie the barn cat. The Hollenbecks found Charlie when she was six months old. “Charlie has a very important job,” Rick explained. She catches mice in the barn. The Hollenbecks dubbed the cat Charlie after she bit Janet’s finger, referencing the video “Charlie bit my finger.”

Janet explained that she found Charlie by the side of the road. She had been thrown from a car, and had road rash all along her body. "She had road rash on her paws," she said. Now, Charlie is happy and fairly healthy.

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