Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Researchers at the University of Eastern New Hampshire have studied horses’ adaptations to the recent wet summers.
Among their findings:
Horses are no longer spooking at water or avoiding puddles. Now, they turn their ears back and walk around dry spots!
Ducks have replaced cowbirds as pasture companions.
Horses prefer their hay soaked.
Hooves, like those of the aforementioned Chincoteague ponies, are evolving to withstand long periods of soaking.
Slugs are the new deer fly. Horses are developing stiff, slick whiskers to cast off slugs from grass and hay.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The girls and I made another soggy trek to the pasture today. They were eager to go, seeing as it beat the soggy paddock. At least there would be grass, they told themselves!
With all this rain, I imagine they're adapting like those Chincoteague ponies in Virginia. Soon, they will have swamp-proof feet. They will prefer dining on wetland grasses. And their coats will grow a bug-proof shield.
If it keeps raining, forget the daily ponying, I'll be swimming them across the way!
Friday, June 12, 2009
As you may have read elsewhere on NickerNews, ponying is a twice-a-day routine at my place.
So a few evenings ago, I have all four horses ready to return home. I'm on Shea and the other three are at our sides, with rope halters and leadlines. The electric fence is off and I'm just getting situated, shuffling the leadlines and reins before I bend over, grab the electric fence handle, toss it aside and head home.
Apparently, Shea was impatient. She lowered her head, grabbed the handle in her mouth as if to try opening it herself! She didn't succeed, but the effort had me in bits!
Then last night, we were at the same spot and again, I was dillydallying around -- apparently taking way too long from Shea's perspective. She lowered her head and grabbed an insulator between her lips and pulled it off the fiberglass fence post, electric tape and all. That lowered the fence to a foot off the ground.
I'm sure Shea figured we could all step over it and head home...Maybe when I show up tonight, she will already have the rope halters on her herdmates and start heading home without me.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
When all my horses emerged from winter and started shedding out, it became clear that Phoenix wasn't thriving. The tough winter was toughest on her. She's 30 and was a brood mare before I acquired her, so ribs and a swayback are a little less startling on her than, say, a 7 year old.
My equine dentist visited in the fall and returned to extract two wobbly molars in April. After his exam, it became clear I would have to supplement her hay and grain feed with soaked beet pulp and alfalfa pellets. I also added Cocosoya, a fatty acid my vet recommended.
On top of the weight issue, her coat was terrible. Rain rot. I washed her daily with a microbacterial bath. It was a long haul and she lost a lot of her coat.
BUT, I'm happy to report that Phoenix is heading into the summer with a rounder belly and a shinier coat. She's no show horse, but she's feeling better and looking better. For an aging horse, that's the best we could hope for.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
I've watched Calvin Borel for a few years and can't help but root for him.
Why? He seems to put the horse ahead of everything else.
When he was given a bottle of water after winning the Preakness, the first thing he did was spray Rachel Alexander.
There are little things he's done in the few moments of televised fame that show me he's all about the horse and other things are always second. Yippee!
He may be a man of few words, but whatever he utters is simple and horse-first-oriented.
Plus, just watch how the track folks - the grooms and the regular joes - react when he wins. They love it. It's clear he's one of them. Or at least that's my take.