Have you ever experienced a vertical tasting–the same wine in samples served across several years vintages, or similar “flight of wine” samples to closely compare similar qualities? Well, my horses were offered a vertical tasting of hay samples. Before you think I’ve really lost my mind, it was because I suspected a certain bale of hay in a lot I purchased was “off.” In the past, my hay hoover, Paddy, has eschewed a flakes of hay from a lot he has otherwise snarfed up with gusto. That always makes me suspicious, as he has the “nose” for anything off with a flake of hay. Having had a horse act colic-y after a bad bunch, I am not willing to take a chance. Sure enough, the other evening I got the gang in and gave them the “special” hay, the few bales I’ve got held aside which they really love. Every one pawed through it, leaving it strewn across their stalls. Hmmmm? I smelled it, I examine it. It looked just like all the rest, with the one exception that a few oak leaves had gotten mixed in. What’s the big deal? Well, knowing Paddy’s bloodhound nose, I opened a new bale of the good stuff, along with a flake of the suspect hay, and held them out to him. No contest. Dived into the newly-opened bale like a starved rescue horse. Never looked at the other flake. Sure, but he’s picky. I tried it with the others. Same deal. I tossed that whole bale aside for disposal. I didn’t detect a thing, but the vertical tasting revealed the truth.
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