Clip-clop-snort-clop clop clop... It's about a 1/4 mile down the road from the end driveway to the pasture gate. The five of us have been making the trip up and back every day for the last few days. The ponies are thrilled to be out on pasture - especially since there's some green to it. It's just shy of 10 acres that hasn't been grazed for the last two years, so there's considerable old stuff there, too - a nice prairie mix of buffalo grass and some longer stuff.
I didn't think we were ever going to get the fence finished, but the weather finally cooperated and it's up.
We've had rollercoaster weather here lately, but I had managed to get the small piece of grass north of the driveway sectioned off with temporary electric fence and they'd been getting an hour or so a day on that, so getting out on grass wasn't a complete shock to their systems, and I've been gradually increasing the amount of time they're out. They're up to six hours on the big pasture now.
I haven't gotten a water tank in yet, so for right now I fill two big plastic tubs for them. Thursday and Friday we had 80's, and they drained them. Today we had a high of 41' - the high was lower than yesterday's low. They weren't nearly so dry.
Currently we have to walk all the way up the road to the southeast corner of the pasture to get to the gate. On the plus side, there's a grass shoulder wide enough for all of us 90% of the way, and I can see clear to the stop sign in one direction and almost as far in the other, so we stop, look and listen before starting out and if I hear anything coming in any direction we wait until I see which way the driver's going to turn. (So far there's been a sum total of 1 car to wait on.)
The plan is to put in a walk-through gate on the north side, and then I shouldn't have to take them down the road at all. I'm looking forward to that.
|Coming in for the evening trip down the hill|
It took them all of one trip to figure out where they were going every morning, and now they meet me at the gate and stand in a row to have their halters put on. I'm a little slower; I haven't quite gotten the perfect twosomes down yet. The only one I'm sure of is Rufus. He walks on my heels, and he has shoes on, therefore he's an outside horse. Other than that, they walk along politely whoever they end up next to and they've even figured out the four-wide swing at the pasture gate so that I can hook the line behind us, and the swivel-to-me at the barn gate so that I can take their halters off and block the way back out at the same time.
Speaking of the line at the pasture gate... The existing pasture gate is one of those multi-strand wire things. And it was a miserable pain to start with. I can't open it one handed. (It's tight, heavy and awkward, and I have to literally hug the fence to open and close it.) I didn't want to leave it wide open, but I couldn't get it open easily once I had them all caught without one of them - or me - stepping in it on the way out. And I surely did NOT want to open the gate before I had them all caught.
I woke up in the middle of the night with the solution: I tied a strip of polywire decorated with a few strips of orange surveyor's tape to the gatepost on one side, tied a gate handle to the other end so I could hook it on the other gatepost, and viola, a gate I can get in and out with four horses attached. They respect the polywire, because it generally comes with electricity running through it. They can also see it much better than the brownish wire gate. The best thing is, I can unhook it one-handed, walk in keeping it snug, swing them around, and then hook it again. Once they're all in and turned loose, then I close the wire gate and they're secure. It will work until the walk-through's in, and/or we get a regular steel gate up instead of the wire.
|See the house & barn roofs behind them?|
Other than that, Cat 1 and Cat 3 have been hauled to the vet, tested negative for feline leukemia and FIV, and had their respective reproductive bits removed. Cat 1 has forgiven me. Cat 3... not so much. Cat 2 will hopefully cooperate and catch himself in the livetrap Sunday night so that he can take his trip Monday morning. And that's the news that is news from around here. Now I'm off to catch up on what everyone else has been occupied with while I've been incommunicado.