Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Recently, I had the luck to get a visit from a University of Maine extension agent. He took a look at my fields and made some suggestions. I thought I would pass them along.
I have two fields totalling about eight acres for my four horses. There are plenty of weeds but still lots of quality forage, too. He suggested I mow it every late June or early July, to keep down the weeds. It was good to do it at this time, before the weeds starting getting big and going to seed (and spreading).
Also, he talked about the horses' grazing patterns. If the horses have lots of space, they will graze only on what they like and leave the less tasty plants. Eventually, since the less tasty plants aren't being eaten, they will outnumber the horses' preferred grasses.
In order to combat this problem, he suggested fencing off smaller portions of the pasture and have them graze down the entire plot. The horses will get used to eating everything -- not just the creme de la creme. Then, he continued, rotate the horses over to rested pasture every week or so.
Who knew? I thought I was doing my horses a favor by fencing off as much pasture as possible. But his suggestion of blocking off portions of the pasture and moving them regularly makes perfect sense. I'm so glad it's been pointed out to me.
And the mowing makes sense, too. By mowing, I knock down the not-so-tasty weeds that the girls won't eat. If I didn't mow, then (again) those weeds would overtake the good grass.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
A little 'wahoo!' today after nearly a month of waiting.
I bought a pair of Ariat lacers from Bootbarn.com earlier this year. They were ok, but wearing out too quickly and not as great as I've come to expect from Ariat. So after four months and much deliberation, I sent them back along with a letter of disappointment from this faithful and long-time Ariat wearer.
The 'wahoo' comes with my new pair of boots, delivered today, at no charge.
Hey, when you spend all day in your boots, you need them to be comfy and wicked durable, right? It was so satisfying that Bootbarn and Ariat agreed.
An amusing musing: I was hanging out with the girls (my four mares) tonight and having my barn-chore beer. I sat for some minutes on the step of one of our stalls and Shea, my 7 year old, hung out with me. She usually lingers with me while the others graze.
As in the past, she seems to like to sniff my beer bottle while I hold it in front of me. I think she likes the smell OR likes the noise her breath makes as she blows on the top of the bottle. Shea would blow out and seemingly listen to the noise (like the noise we make when we blow with our mouths across the bottle opening). Then she would switch nostrils and do the same thing with the other nostril. Then back to the other nostril!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Back to the herd dynamics discussion. Yes, that's me and my barn full of mares (four), including the new 12-year old little quarterhorse.
She's doing much better, now. All the drama has calmed down but not without the intense locker room karma of heat.
Yes, ma'am. First one, then another, then another came into heat. You would have sworn you were backstage at a Broadway show with all the tails up in the air and noses everywhere!
As my brother's elderly babysitter would say, "this too shall pass."
And it has, thank goodness!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Just another note about our farm's new addition and the dynamics of her fitting into the herd.
Well, at least it is getting better.
After a few days of watching the new mare getting bullied around by the big girl, Shea, I decided to force the issue. I moved my older paint and the diplomat Shetland across the street, where I have temporary room for them at another barn.
I figured with cohorts gone, she would have no choice but to buddy-up to the new girl. Make nice, I was asking of her.
Well, so far, so good. They are getting along well. Only an occasional ears-back, better-move-over-sista kind of look.
Tune in next time as I move them all to greener pastures for some bigger space and grazing opportunities!
We recently added a new mare to our herd. Four mares now - an elderly Shetland, an elderly paint, a big, 7-year old PMU, and the lovely, new addition - a little 12-year old quarterhorse.
It was VERY interesting to watch them sort themselves out.
Immediately, the Shetland befriended the new mare.
Now, before the new addition, the Shetland was at the bottom of the totem pole. And the paint was very much at the top.
In this new scenario, the little pony was the mediator. She would put herself between the newbie and the bigger girls even if it meant getting pushed around and nearly kicked.
Meanwhile, the paint was totally taking the backseat. She did not play the assertive card at all. I watched as she left the little quarterhorse alone.
The PMU, on the other hand, felt it was her job to make our new addition as miserable and unwanted as possible. Talk about pinned back ears!
More on these observed dynamics soon!