Friday, May 15, 2009

Green, green everywhere

It always amazes me how very busy life becomes when the days get longer and the plants spring to life. I've already mowed our pastures TWICE and two need another mowing this weekend. The grasses are up to the horse's bellies and going to seed, so they need to be knocked back down. I like the keep the grasses between 8 inches and 10 inches high, any taller than that and they start going woody and losing nutritional value. Plus, regular mowing keeps any weeds in check and gives the grasses and legumes a leg up to overcome and overtake any pesky weeds. Pasture maintenance is such a labor-intensive venture! The horses are definitely happy in their green paradise.

Last weekend I got a wild hair and decided to try putting all three out to pasture together again. Last year it was a disaster. Chief tried to run Gabe through the fences and just kept after him All. Day. Long. He was overly aggressive and the risk of injury far outweighed my desire to have a happy little herd of three instead of separating them.

I put Gabe out to the pasture first, then turned Calypso out with him. The two usually go out together so I knew there wouldn't be an issue. Once those two got their bucks out I turned Chief out with them. He trotted up to Gabe and Gabe up to him, necks arched, tails held high. The sniffed noses and Chief squealed and struck out with a front leg. Then the two changed position and inspected each other's boy bits, squealed a bit more, sniffed noses again and dropped their heads to graze. That's IT. No running, no kicking, no biting, nothing. I guess Chief really just needed a year of getting used to Gabe over the fence before he was okay with welcoming him into his little herd of two.

Gabe is definitely on the bottom of the totem pole, where he belongs. He is very, very responsive to pinned ears and swishing tails and sometimes looks a bit dejected as Chief and Calypso graze side-by-side while he follows them at a safe distance. I think that will change after awhile, they all just need a chance to get used to the new herd dynamics. Gabe really, really wants to play though, he's such a baby still. He often goes running around the pasture, tail high, snorting like a crazy horse, and swings in to make playful bucks and nips towards Chief and Calypso, inviting them to play. They tolerate him, but haven't ventured to participate in his little games yet.

Not much riding lately. The tilling and planting and mowing and repairing has kept me obscenely busy. Not to mention my husband has been working TONS of overtime, meaning he doesn't get home until the sun is setting, and I won't ride Gabe without another adult home, just in case something happens. I'd hate for something bad to happen to me with just Kayleigh home! I so hate having to depend on someone else's schedule to get my riding time in. Hate. It.

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