Posts Tagged With: Pasture

Trading Spaces (Without Paige Davis)

Insects are thrust into the air like popcorn. Barn Swallows dip and dive, dancing through the air, enjoying the feast. The sweet aroma of freshly-mowed grass, while tempting, is far from safe for the horses. The toxic chemicals released from grass during the mowing process are unsafe for equine consumption.

That doesn’t make sense. Hay is simply mowed grass. How could it be toxic to horses if we feed hay all the time?

Hay is, indeed, mowed grass. However, after hay is mowed, it’s allowed to lay in the sun and dry before it’s baled. Each bale must be thoroughly dry before it’s safe to put in a barn. Frequently even after hay is baled, it’s allowed to dry outside in the sun. Hay becomes moldy if it’s wet, and moldy hay causes colic and heaves. Not to mention it’s disgusting. Humans don’t eat moldy food–the same courtesy should be extended to horses. Worse yet, moldy hay can cause a barn fire.

There’s a great deal of hay growing on the property. The outdoor arena is currently a hayfield, as is the meadow behind the horse pastures.

The horse pastures are big enough that they’re staying green. The horses enjoy grazing, and the girls have grazed their pasture down to the ground. The boys have grazed theirs down, too, but their pasture is larger.

This is a problem.

We have three boys, two of which (Sidney and Dusty) are becoming a little overweight, and in Dusty’s case, cresty on the neck. They really don’t need as much grass as they’re getting.

The girls, on the other hand, are in need of grass. Melody is preparing to be bred. Savannah is perpetually in need of good nutrition. Honey is pleasantly plump, but is still safe to have on grass. Lexi is underweight, and could use the extra calories from grass.

Therefore, the geldings have been moved. They’re currently exploring the old mare pasture, which will be their new home. The boys don’t need as much grass as the girls, and since there’s more space in the gelding pasture, it makes sense to swap the girls and boys.

However, the “new” mare pasture (or old gelding pasture, if you prefer) is off limits after being mowed this morning. We won’t move the girls into their new pasture until Friday morning. They’re currently in the run-in stall pasture, relaxing and hanging out. All three stalls are open to the pasture, so they can come and go as they please. However, last time I checked,  Melody and Honey are sharing a stall, and Lexi and Savannah are schmoozing in another.

The Barn Swallows are still whirling and twirling, spinning and swirling above the old gelding pasture. They’ll weave their magic in midair until every last insect is devoured.

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Unrequited Love

Poor Dusty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusty’s lady love, Lexi, is in a different pasture, and he’s begun to desire someone else–Misty. She, however, couldn’t care less for his strong, muscular physique or silky black mane and tail. Misty is either playing hard to get–or perhaps she’s simply ignoring Dusty’s “crazy horse stalker” tendencies.

Meanwhile, Lexi enjoyed a little off-the-clock time in the new addition to the girls’ pasture.

Lexi loves to roll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sidney is silly. He changed up his look, tired of the same-old-thing.

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New Digs

Scatter, weave and dodge. Hooves drum in rhythm, seeking out the delicious foliage at the edge of the paddock. Each day, the T-posts are moved further into the meadow, allowing the horses more room to frolic, roam, and munch.

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Playing in the Pastures

Urgent whinnies give way to squeals. The horses paw at their stall doors, begging. Grain is eaten and hay in the stall is ignored–for soon, there will be freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids wheel and buck on the way out to the meadow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They love their daily 2 hours of grazing in the back pasture.

Some of the inhabitants of Firefly Farm prefer to snooze the day away.

Savannah received a new halter, courtesy of a Minion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Braz and Misty love every-other-day when I put them out in the RAMM fenced pasture.

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Apple Days

  Days like today are crisp with an apple-like bite in the air. The ponies frolic and play in their pastures, enjoying the snow.

 

   The horses are delightful. I fed them all this morning and enjoyed horsey hugs. Savannah worried me, because she refused to eat all her breakfast. She wanted to eat al fresco instead of en stall. She abandoned half of her breakfast to Melody. I worked with Savannah; even trying to feed her from my hand, but nothing worked. I eventually put her outside with Melody, and that’s when they switched places and Melody proceeded to eat Savannah’s food. Fortunately, at that moment, Savannah’s owner came inside and learned of her pony’s appetite issue. I told the owner to give Savannah more grain later if she wanted; simply because it’s better to overfeed one horse and properly feed the other rather than overfeeding one horse and starving another.

   In that same vein, I have attempted many cures for Senorita’s cribbing/windsucking habit. The best appears to be the easiest. I had put her in the indoor arena and let her pace among the stalls while the other horses ate, but it seems that this doesn’t always work, either. The other horses are feeling threatened by her and are kicking stall doors or attempting to bite through the stall bars. I don’t care for the situation. Therefore, I started feeding her out in the pasture after everyone else comes inside. It appears to be working! She has been putting her teeth on the T-posts, but isn’t doing it as frequently as she has in the stalls. She’s more relaxed and calm. Then, if she wants to, she’s also able to meander around the pasture for a few moments before eating again. 

  

   Coffee and Dusty are delightful. They’re so easygoing and fun. They don’t mind changing to the other pasture with the smaller run-in shed. They seem content and relaxed.

   Lexi is a super-smart stinker. I have the funniest time with her. My dog, a border collie, helps me with chores each night, moving the horses into the pastures. She herds them into the correct pasture, then generally does a good job making sure they don’t run back into the barn. Tonight, however, Lexi left her stall to go into the pasture with Bandit following.  She ran into the pasture no problem, but as I went to close the pasture gate, she breezed past both Bandit and I–heading back for her stall in the barn. So Bandit and I jogged all the way back into the barn, wiggled a lunge whip through the stall bars at her rump to get her moving, and she and Bandit blazed a trail for the pasture again. I booked it back to the pasture gate, telling Bandit to hold the horses in there and hoping I could shut Lexi in for the night. Wouldn’t you know it? Lexi’s owner came at that exact moment–and saw me being the out-of-breath/outsmarted-by-her-horse-barnowner. Supposedly the human brain is bigger than a horse’s brain–but some moments, I have my doubts. I would have been laughing very hard if I were the horse’s owner.

     I haven’t ridden Honey since Friday, but today she came up to me and wanted a hug and a neck scratch. That isn’t an odd occurrence anymore. She’s become more friendly as I’ve been able to work with her recently on ground manners. She doesn’t care for being constantly ridden without using her brain on groundwork. She is definitely a horse that needs a gentle trainer. She becomes resentful if you’re not careful, and rude if you don’t pay attention to her desires.

   Braz is constantly with Honey during the day now that it’s just Lexi, Senorita, Braz and Honey in the big pasture in the back. They are thrilled to be constantly, and there are two herds of two back there. Braz fusses over Honey as though Honey is her daughter. The relationship is adorable to watch.

   Savannah is a mixed bag these days. She appears to have lameness issues with her owner, but she isn’t having these issues with lesson students. Whenever we’ve used her for lessons or birthday parties, she’s been calm, gentle, and sound–but as soon as her owner comes in, she acts lame at the trot and canter. It’s very confusing. We do the exact same exercises, the exact movements with students, but Savannah is appearing to refuse movements for her owner. I didn’t use her for lessons at all last week because I wanted to be certain to give Savannah some time off, but unfortunately it seems she was still lame for her owner yesterday. One positive out of all this is that the owner is working through Parelli level one, so she’s able to do a lot of groundwork with Savannah. Savannah did level one and part of level two with me when I owned her, so she’s already familiar with the program.

   Melody is fantastic as usual. Cold weather makes her very happy.  She bucks and plays and generally acts like a foal.

   The pastures are finally frozen, so it’ll be fun to let the horses out back again once hunting season is truly over. The girls can go out there and play, the boys will be given a chance to burn off some energy, and everyone will appreciate how next year we’ll have larger pastures. I’m planning to expand the current pastures very far to the back, leaving a very generous driving lane with perhaps some area for a few cross-country type jumps. (Very low ones, of course–under 2 feet.) I want to have the ability to use the lane as a true “driving” lane so one day I can use a carriage, but I also want some “trail” riding area. Possibilities, possibilities… For now, I’ll be content to let the snow cover the grounds and pretend everything is exactly how I want it. Next spring, the neighbors will be tired or my relentless T-post pounding–and people will be terrified of my giant, “manly” biceps. That’s ok. If they hurt my feelings, I’ll just flex my arm and send ’em running.

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