Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Horses, Dogs and Pasture

We have about 100 acres here. That sounds impressive except it is almost completely scrubby side hills. Nothing for the horses to graze on. It's so scrawny I even fence off my back yard for them (they keep the grass mowed under the picnic table).

There is one small pasture (an acre perhaps) about half a mile from the house. The horses have no access to it unless I take them out there. Today being 80 and sunny heading out back seemed like a good idea. The dogs usually enjoy the trip too so I encouraged them to join us.

I caught Daydream (she will come from miles away for a carrot. She recognizes the sound of the bag!), saddled her and climbed aboard. I had to let the other two out of the ring so they could follow. This is usually a fairly easy procedure (reach down, unhook gate) except Daydream was being very uncooperative today. After a few struggles the gate was opened and we were on our way.

LD and Vivid were pretty excited about the prospect of pasture grazing. Daydream was too but she didn't want to be the lead horse (I'm sure I have mentioned the horse eating butterflies before). She and I had two battles before we got out there.

Once there however, they were quite happy to hang out and eat. The dogs had followed fairly close behind (Cruella has no concept how dangerous those hooves can be!) so they were content to get a drink, lay in the shade, and take a break.

We all hung out for about an hour and a half and then the horses started getting antsy. Nothing scared them, it is just typical behavior. I didn't want them to accelerate their spookiness so I caught Daydream again, tacked up, and we all headed home.

The trip back to the barn is normally pretty straight forward. Everyone is in a hurry so they can get their feed. We started for home, got about 30' from the pasture, and good old Daydream locked up. She was NOT going any further. I tried gentle encouragement (soothing voice, reassuring her there were no goblins ahead) but she wasn't having it. She did the Hi Ho Silver thing and went up into the air.

That made me mad. We WERE crossing that ditch come hell or high water. While she and I were 'discussing' it, the other two horses crossed and continued towards home. Not wanting to be left behind, she decided to follow.

Everything was going fine until we got to the area where their normal pasture is. I could not close the gate until they were all in and Vivid did not want to come in where there was no grass. Aargh!

I turned Daydream so we could go collect Vivid and once again my little princess went up in the air. And headed for the underbrush so she could try and get me off while refusing to neck rein.

The fight was on! She did everything she could think of but in the end, I got control. We went up and down those trails several times. We would probably still be doing it if she hadn't finally decided that my way was not such a bad thing especially if it could get us to the barn sooner.

When we got back to the pasture where I had to close the gate, there was the mighty C. Dog. Sprawled out in a large puddle of gray brown clay mud. How precious.

We all got back to the barn, fed the horses and then headed for the house. I took Cruella out to her pool and made her get in it hoping some of the mud would come off. No such luck. Nothing but a bath would do it.

Remind me again, why do I love animals so much?


Kate said...

I love this story and the photos.
:) Good times. You must be a good rider to hang on to all those hi ho silvers!

Misfit in Paradise said...

Not a good rider. Just very stubborn!

annest said...

I am impressed yet again with your riding skills (aka stubbornness). Hard to convince a horse you are the boss when the horse thinks otherwise. Sounds like a nice day. We'll have to go riding some day. Lucy would enjoy it (me too)

Misfit in Paradise said...

Me too!