The horses spend lots of time out in the big pasture, even with the several feet of snow. Most of the time they are just loafing out here...
...but they also spend a lot of time digging through the snow for grass.
They have a feeder full of second crop alfalfa grass mix, but yet still they dig.
Are they lacking some minerals, even with two different kinds of mineral salt blocks?
Or are they listening to their wild hearts and keeping up their snow digging expertise just in case they return to the wild someday?
This of couse wouldn't apply to the 3 domestic born horses.
But even they must be wild in their dreams.
Even the tiniest member of the herd.
Her face bears the evidence of her grass hunting, even though she must have the most difficult time of all digging with her tiny hooves.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
It was a cold day again, but the temps actually reached the teens today! Still, the horses basked broadside in the sun and their breath was visible in the crisp air.
This is the view that I see most often of my horses. I can use my telephoto lens to capture them in the field. When I give them water at night, it's usually dusk and I don't bring my camera, so I have no pics of them then.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The horses love to loaf down along the fenceline next to the neigbor's pasture. People say that a horse won't pick their head up from a bale of hay even when they are full, but I don't see that with these guys. They have good quality grass/alfalfa mix in their feeder all the time, along with two trace mineral salt licks (one with selenium and one without). They do spent a lot of time eating, but I watch them loafing down here for several hours every day. Sometimes they sleep (some lay down), and sometimes they dig through the snow to graze on grass beneath. It's hilarious to watch Pumpkin dig into the snow to graze because the snow is just about to her belly in some places, and she buries her head to her ears! Sometimes when I greet them at the feeder, Pumpkin still has snow stuck all over her face!
Todd and I were discussing Pumpkin the other day and I don't think we will send her back to the rescue. She has potential in other areas beside cow guarding and I think I'll try to make time to work with her this summer. She's a good size for a kid and she's pretty fearless so she may make a good kids horse...but then again, she's also bull-headed so she may be difficult for a child to control. We'll see!
I have reservations about sending her back to the rescue anyway. My opinion of the rescue is that the woman running it is only a step or two above being an animal hoarder. She had dogs chained to trees, running loose (the neighbor apparently shot one of her pregnant dogs when it was running loose through his field), goats, and tons of horses. The horses were all in good condition weight-wise, but now that I look back at Pumpkin when we got her and compare her condition to how she is now...The rescue had her for about a year before we adopted her, so her condition when we picked her up last spring was due to the rescue's treatment. Last spring, she had a very dull, rough, scruffy winter coat and it took her well into the summer to shed that coat. Once she completely shed, she was lovely and shiny. And now, her winter coat is just thick and luxurious. It is a dark chestnut color. We'll see how her coat looks this spring as she sheds, but I think that she'll have an easier time shedding and her coat won't look so rough as it does. We'll see. I think that rescue was a little overcommitted and couldn't keep each animal in top condition. They had 30+ horses and had to feed hay year round because they didn't have enough pasture for them.