Friday, March 30, 2012

Goodbye dear oak

My horses just are not letting up on the oak trees.  They've primary worked this one over, completely girdling and killing it, but they have also chewed bumped out areas on other trees too (oaks and maples).

This is the first time in the 4 years they've been in this pasture they they have gone after these big old oaks.  Oaks that have been here as long as I can remember, and even survived having horses pastured here when I was a kid!  It makes me really sad that they are doing this!  I think it is out of boredom, as the only trees they are attaching are in their resting area (they have free choice hay).   And they want out to eat, out they go!  I can't have them do this!  I was going to let the pasture grass get a head start before I let them out, but I'd rather have short grass than dead trees.  I just hope their guts are ready for it!  I didn't think that oak bark would taste good.

They've nibbled on the serviceberry that you can see flowering here, but never girdled it, nor have they touched the two big oaks near their hay feeder at all.

 I had a couple of "helpers" with me as I checked on the horses and the state of the pasture today.

The horses are just really happy that I've let them out to graze.

These two are like peas in a pod...well, only because they are always together in the pasture, not because they are much alike any other way!

My little "helper" found an old rotten log to climb over in the pasture.  She climbed over it multiple times, swinging her leg as you would to mount a horse.

Do you supposed she's pretending that she's on a horse?  She doesn't much like to be on their backs yet.  It kind of freaks her out being up high.   She's a cautious girl when it comes to controlling her movement.  And she just turned 18 months old!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Early early spring!

I can't believe how early our spring is this year. Last year it was over a month late!!!! Now it's over a month early!!!! All the trees are budding out. My crocuses are flowering, tulips and daffodils are coming up. The lilacs have little tiny new leaves. I'm really worried that we will get a hard freeze and damage the plants for the rest of the year! It's entirely possibly that we'd get some cold weather. The typical highs this time of year are mid-40's. Today, the high high 80. And it was the same yesterday, and upper 70's the several days before that. The immediate forecast is to stay warm, but who knows what the next few weeks will bring!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pony time

I had a very good friend whom I haven't seen in 2 years visit this past week.  I've been off classes on spring break, and my friend came to do horse things with me!  We had the best weather...60's and 70's (insane for March in WI!!!!).  We trail rode every day (except the 1 day out of 5 that it rained), drank wine and ate goat cheese every night.  It was great and exactly the kind of break I needed!  My friend rode Cody pretty much the whole time, except for when we brought horses into the round pen to mess around with (trying to mount from the ground bareback and cantering bareback).  I rode Catlow the first trail ride, but it quickly became apparent that she needed to rest...she has a cough that I've noticed before.  She had it last winter too, but generally not in the summer time.  I'm unsure what it's some sort of chronic thing.  I will be investigating though it seems like a fairly mild sporadic, cough, unless she is worked really hard. 

We trailered my horses a few miles down the rode to a sandy county road that connects with many trails through a remote oak/pine forested area.  We rode for many hours each day, making sure that we were sore by the time we got back.  We trotted and cantered a ton!  It felt great!  Cody was extremely well behaved for my friend.  Chico was good, but we did discover some holes to work through.  He needs some more work riding at greater speeds keeping his attention on me and not the other horse.  He wanted to be in the lead, so when we were behind, he wanted to catch up and pass.  When we were in front, he was better, but the first day he was very fast and very difficult to get to respond to cues well.  By the last day of our trail riding saga, he was actually doing much much better.  I could let Cody pass us at the trot or canter without Chico even thinking about breaking from the walk.  And we could canter or trot to catch up with control.  I think he needed some reminding about how to listen to me and not his boss mare, Cody.  It was great to ride with a friend and get some training in on my horses at the same time!  And now, my horses get to recover from their week at work too.

I wish I had more photos from the past week, but we were busy riding, plus my camera batteries were low.  But enjoy the few that I have!

We encountered a boggy area and lead the horses through it.  Chico fell in a bit of a hole and splattered me with mud on his way out.

Oh, and here is a photo of goofy Kachina.  I'm not sure how she managed to get herself a hay wig, but it stayed on for quite a while.  She acted as though she was purposefully wearing it.  It didn't bother her at all.  She never shook her head to get rid of it.  It eventually blew off when they came out into a more open area with wind.

Griffin is handsome and the rest of my horses look on.
Kachina comes to the fence to visit.
The rest of the horses came too.  I think that Chico is saying Kachina looks ridiculous in her hay wig.