Today we strung the wire and I tied strips of fabric on the wire to make it more visible while they are learning the boundaries. We didn't get the electric hooked up yet, but I was itching to let them explore their new pasture, so I haltered Cody (lead mare), and opened the panels, hoping the other two would just follow as I led her along the fence line. Well, for the most part they followed, but they also took off and galloped around and around the hills before I even had a chance to take them to the other side. They saw the fence right off, but I was still worried they might jump it in their excitement (althouth they've never jumped a fence before). They didn't jump the fence. Cody didn't appreciate them leaving her to zoom to the other side of the pasture, but I made her behave (it's good for her). When I completed the circle with Cody, I caught Chico and did the same thing (even though he'd been all over, I still thought he might not have had a chance to get in the corners). Meanwhile, Cody and Catlow continued to zoom all around. Catlow was really digging in and galloping. It was so fun to watch. Then I took Catlow around, but this time, Cody and Chico felt they had explored enough and it was time to eat, so Catlow leaving didn't faze them a bit (although it bothered Catlow...poor horse at the bottom of the pecking order). Then I let them all loose to graze for a bit.
This weekend is the opening of the 9 day deer/gun season in Wisconsin. It is only 9 days long, so this weekend will be PACKED with hunters which means I need to wear orange even if I stay on our own land. It also means that people are target shooting right now, just down the road from us. The gunshots didn't bother them when they were in the paddock area, but out in this new area, it would cause them to gallop to a new spot to graze everytime they heard one.
Then I gave them each a little scoop of grain in buckets in the paddock area and went out to bribe them in. They came eagerly, but after their grain was gone, Cody went to pacing the perimeter where I had closed the panels back up. They had enough fun (and grazing) for today. They can have a bit more tomorrow. Tomorrow, I'll take my camera and get some video/pics of them zooming around!
Oh, and here's the burdock bouquet, as promised. Somehow, Cody found one I'd missed (of course) in her exploring escapades, so I had to pull a few from her tail. I've never seen burdocks in northern ID. They grow where it's wetter, so perhaps it's too dry out there. They are an infestation in old pastures here...
Chico's abcess really seems to be healing up. It's not draining anymore, the hole has scabbed over, and there is still no heat, so I think it is time to let it heal up.
I heard back from the BLM about Catlow and Chico's dams. They said they were rounded up already weaned so they didn't have mares assigned to them, therefore, there is no way of knowing who Chico and Catlow mother's were...makes me sad. I feel like they are orphans. Knowing what I do about horse bands and when foals are naturally weaned of their mothers, I highly doubt that they were "already weaned" when they came in (they were rounded up in August!). What that means really is that the BLM decided they were old enough to be weaned and it also meant less record keeping for them, so they separated out all the foals from the mares upon roundup. What an awful time that must have been for those mares and foals! To be rounded up by helicopters, then separated and thrown into pens, when all they had ever known previously was freedom and security in the herd. I sound really sappy, and usually I am very scientific about these things, but when I let myself really think about how each of those animals felt, it really makes me sad...although most of them seen to get over it and I know it is a necessity in today's world. And I do appreciate the opportunity to work with these animals. I have a new perspective on Catlow's fear of new places though...
Ranch Journal ~ February 19, 2018
6 hours ago