A few months ago, my husband, my dogs and my little herd of horses moved to a beautiful house on a beautiful piece of land. We've been working towards the goal of purchasing horse property for some time, and dreams finally became reality. The day we signed the papers is still a blur in my mind, and I still can't believe I was able to wait two whole weeks before bringing home the horses.
They were in heaven, and I quickly cut off the irrigation.
It wasn't a difficult adjustment, for me anyway. Unfortunately for my IR mare I was leasing, the green grass was not agreeable to her metabolic state. Before it became an issue, she went home and I brought back baby. My three geldings adjusted quickly and I am still learning the balance of keeping pasture irrigated enough not to die, but not enough to be lush. You see, the more you know about ideal horse-keeping, the more things like gorgeous green pastures and soft sand arenas become less than ideal living situations. That said, I still wanted to take advantage of the acreage and reduce my hay bill by utilizing the pastures as the primary food source for my ponies. Luckily, I like micro-managing and am open to change as necessary.
The pastures now look like this, and no one has died of starvation, yet.
The growing yearling is not an accurate representation of the rest of the "herd."
Because my horses are athletes, or are supposed to be athletes, or could be athletes if I could focus on more than three things at once, soundness is imperative. The boarding situation where they came from was vastly different than their new digs. 180 acres of dry desert hills is completely different than six acres of paddock and pasture. I know plenty of successful endurance horses who thrive in similar situations so I wasn't too terribly concerned. My biggest worry was that they would lose their rock-hard feet and might not be as sound on the trail as they were when living like wild ponies at the ranch. Thus far, I truly haven't noticed much of a difference while trimming. Chant's feet are rock-hard while Topper's are still soft - just like always.
I still use my Easyboot Gloves on most of my training rides and the rides where I ride barefoot don't seem any different. Perhaps it will take awhile to see the negative effects of a grass pasture, but I am willing to adapt as necessary. We are already making plans to add pea gravel to the horses night paddocks and loafing areas. For the first time ever, my horses are eating 100% grass hay and I am able to feed them out of slow feeders when they get hay. The best part would probably have to be the ample shade, which I have fully taken advantage of to trim regularly despite 100+ degree heat. That, and the fully stocked fridge that's inside the house. With air conditioning. Yesssss.
My favorite spot. The Tree of Patience, Trimming Tree.
Perpetual shade and always a breeze. Love it!
Now that we're all settled in and adapting to the changes, my focus has been shifting back to endurance. For the first time in many years, I haven't ridden one endurance mile, much less the normal hundreds I would have been at by now at this point in the season. While I have actually enjoyed the break, I am now looking forward to getting Chant to some of our gorgeous fall rides in the hopefully much COOLER weather! I am also focusing on two new up-n-comers, who have been getting some regular hoof trimming and are about set for their first official Glove fittings.
New pony, new feet. We'll fix them fast.
I have been laughing at myself lately, as my reality has become so distorted that I now look at Coach bags as X-ton of hay and become excited at the thought of gravel. I am also excited at the thought of the seasons changing and craving the scent of fall in the air. I'm sure before I know it, I'll be cursing the mud and the wind and the rain, but for now I'll enjoy the ride. Hopefully it's a smooth one!