Monday, May 14, 2012

see if it was safe outside

My sweet boys are in new pastures! I have been planning the additions for quite some time and the fence company was able to come out the first week in May. These pictures are from a morning when they were investigating one section for the first time. I was so excited to put them out, that I didn't groom them first. Consequently, there are three muddy geldings in these photos and video.

The grass is actually a timothy hay mix. I have been timing their exposure to the new spaces and increasing in 15 minute increments. 

This is an aerial view of our farm. The previous, existing fence is in red. This made six acres of pastures which was perfect for Pie and Sovereign. Even though they were outside 24/7, the design allowed for good movement and very little over-grazing took place. Sweet Foggy's arrival happened to coincide with the wettest year on record. The old pastures just couldn't survive with three horses full time. Now, I can use the six acres for wet, rainy days as a sacrifice area and the new pastures, in yellow, will be perfect pastures for grazing on dry days. Also, if Brian and Maizie ride with me, we can ride in the pastures without worry about the horses possibly getting loose on the busy road. And, there are many gates on the old pastures and new, so traffic patterns can be changed and rearranged to encourage movement and pasture rotation. There is also a new fence up near the barn and tennis court which is too small to draw on this photo, but gives the boys a shady area for grazing. 

Unfortunately, there are groundhog holes here and there in the big pastures. When I ride the horses out there, all three are very careful about avoiding the holes if I inadvertently go too close. I don't trust their judgement, however, when they are out together playing and possibly racing. So, for the time being, I have put snow fence around the holes. The fences will not keep the horses out, but they are supposed to divert an all out gallop in that section. I have thoroughly scoured the smallest square pasture, so the horses have only been allowed in that one so far. It will take me a few weeks to mark the holes in the bigger pastures. The farmer will cut the hay in the one pasture that does not have our tree seedlings. This should help the horses see the holes better. 

Here is a close-up of one hole. There are larger holes too, which are fox dens. My mom was lucky enough to see a family of baby foxes peeking out of one such den with all their little heads and faces and ears in a row. Our farm is flourishing with wildlife now. The new fencing and pastures are going to cramp the style of some of our furry guests, but I am hopeful we can all share this space without too many problems. I know my horses love watching the busy activity of blue birds, deer, foxes and groundhogs in the fields and woods. 

This pasture is secluded from the road and quiet except for the birds. I am thrilled and I think the horses are too! 

Below is a funny video of Pie and Sovey doing what they do best. Pie is eating furiously and Sovereign is seriously thinking about dismantling my snow fence marker. (Mute your sound to avoid high pitched buzzing.)


  1. Wow, what space!! So your sacrifice is 6 acres alone?!

  2. Kristen - With our rains and three hungry geldings, six acres don't last long! I am so happy about our new space and hopeful we can return to the healthy feeding program of forage and mineral licks and good hay without any grain again. Already we are seeing dapples so I think we are on the right track!

  3. Great addition. I know your herd will love it. Good idea for marking the holes, the fencing should keep them from stepping in them. Looks like it's a win-win for everyone even the riders!

  4. Nice pastures! Timothy mix--yummy, yummy. What happy looking horses. I especially like the naughty boy trying to dismantle the snow fence. :)

  5. Oh - Val and I are jealous of your boy's acreage! I have hope of setting aside a small area for limited grazing here. It won't be enough to replace pellets and hay, but it will make for a happy horse. :) Congrats!

  6. Beautiful! They all look so happy!
    I wish we had more property so we could do rotational grazing. Our pastures are either mud or dirt with a sprinkle of grass here and there.

  7. This looks like horse heaven! What lucky boys and what a good Mom you are.


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