Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Trying to keep the Horses Out... and the Cows In

Ginger's story continues with a pasture out of commission and antsy horses...

Horse/Pasture Management. In the meantime, after one day/night in stalls, our horses were already going stir crazy. They were stressed and not happy. Aaack, what to do? Sunday night, Monica & I had built a holding pen with old panels over an area by the north pasture far gate that was full of tall weeds and some grass and alfalfa. So, I decided to rotate our 2 horse groups between that and the north pasture for awhile, during the daytime.

Monday morning I put Jordan, Romeo, and Chaco (our “bad boys” who are aggressive with the more timid horses) into the new pen. Jordan and Chaco went straight for the grass while Romeo took care of the alfalfa. I took them out after an hour or so because we didn’t want them to colic on too much rich stuff all at once. Then, I put Harley, Shoshoni, Shadow, Rio, and Missy (our “good kids”) in the new pen. After another hour, there wasn’t much of the good stuff left, but plenty of weeds, still. So, this time-consuming rotation continued, alternating the “bad boys” and the “good kids” between the north pasture and the Welcome Pen, and the new pen, a couple times a day and again at night.

Since the horses in the pen were so bored, on Monday, I tried to let Romeo out in pasture with the “good” horses. He had never shown any interest in the mares before, and always seemed indifferent, so I thought he’d be ok as long as it wasn’t feeding time. Ooops, that was a mistake. Come to find out, he only appeared uninterested in the past because Jordan was “king stud” and wouldn’t let him even think about getting cozy with “his” mares. Since Jordan thinks he’s a stud, that’s another reason we keep him in a separate pasture from the mares. Without Jordan in the pasture to run interference, our sweet, loveable Romeo became a goofy Stud Wannabe. He didn’t want Missy or Gracie (our Boarder horse), but he herded Shoshoni around like mad, keeping her away from the rest of the herd and to himself. By the time I went in to get him out of there, he was a snorting, prancing, hard-to-handle stud-muffin lunatic! A thousand pound package of high-strung muscle and nerves not wanting to leave his new status of having a mare. As soon as he was back in with Jordan and Chaco, he was his old sweet gelding self again.

Hay Thieves. The horse feeding now takes twice as long without the convenience of 2 pastures to work from and the use of our Welcome Pen for grain bucket feeding for each set of horses. At least we have our nice stacks of hay down by the pasture to throw over the fence. NOT! We can no longer store any hay down by the pasture because this week, one of Tom’s cows and her calf have been busting through his fence - every day! - and going straight to our nice hay and trashing it as they eat it up.

Now, we dearly love our neighbor, Tom, but he is nonchalant, to say the least, about his cows getting loose. So, now I have to take a big wheelbarrow full of hay down to the pasture at each feeding, morning and evening, and then back up again, to keep the cows from getting it.

This is even more time-consuming for an already busy time. Not to mention the time wasted chasing them back home.

It is bad enough that they eat and wreck our hay stash, but even worse is their cow plop all over the place. Horse manure is nice—it breaks down readily into nice fertilizer with just a little walking through. Cow pies, however, are nasty, gooey masses of yuck that do not break down. Even now, after 2 weeks of daily hay hauling to keep it away from the cow, they still come over looking for it and poop all over the place. It is getting thick over there!



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