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The Horse Lover's Blog

Mixed Blessings

Hay weather? Haying? Not happening. We have had some magnificent days here in Vermont, with clear skies and lovely breezes, but in between we've gotten regular weather fronts that bring brief, torrential rains. The destruction has been less here than in central Vermont, but the hay fields are squishy. Equipment can't get on them, and the grass is standing there, browning at the tops, and becoming less nutritious by the day.
The blessing part? Well, the bobolinks have hatched and fledged for sure. The baby turkeys and the fawns have plenty of cover. The roots of those grasses are going deep, perhaps strengthening the field against the over-use we surely do, both haying and grazing it. Every once in a few years those tall grasses get a long season to mature and go to seed as they would naturally. So we all may benefit in the end, but I'd be more sanguine about it with some hay in the barn.
Mud. That is happening, and as my horses must to uphill to their pasture, they have created a very slippery, eroding path. I got a friend to dump some wood chips, and Michael and I have lugged it uphill in 5 gallon buckets. The horses tread it right in, creating a mix like a stiff oatmeal cookie dough, which is still muddy, but far less slippery. There is much more of this work to do, but now Robin will help.
I got a synthetic Western saddle, and a set of saddle panniers, canvas bags that hang over the horn and cantle. Robin is being clicker trained to carry this new rig, and soon I'll be loading her up with wood chips, my treat-vest up with hay pellets and peppermints, and we'll start hauling. I aim to keep it fun for her, with lots of treats and a chance to learn new tricks, while moving some stuff along the squishy edge of the hay field.
The punkies/midges seem to be mostly gone, thank goodness. Before they left I discovered the thing that worked, a Cashel nose net. It curves down over her nostrils and keeps the insects out. She looks like a harem girl or a Western stage-coach robber, but she's able to eat and doze peacefully. A load off both our minds. Read More 
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