Monday, March 9, 2009


The horses and I are happy.  No rain, bright sun, temperatures rising into the 40s and . . . no blankets or sheets!  Much happiness and delight in the pastures - rolling, trotting, cantering, nibbling tiny grass shoots.  The mud is amazing - we got over 2" of rain over the weekend and the pastures were already muddy.  When I took the mares out, we confronted a good 6" of mud and standing water at the gate of the dry lot.  Several of the mares looked at me as if to say "you want me to walk through what?"  Once inside the footing improved after a few yards.  

Maisie and Lily have restarted the morning grooming ritual.  They do this almost every morning, spring, summer and fall; they even do it before starting to graze when we're out on pasture.  They do the mutual grooming thing from neck to tail, sometimes for 15 or 20 minutes, switching sides from time to time.  The white hair was flying this morning from Lily, who is shedding heavily.  It continues until Lily signals Maisie to leave, sometimes by pinning her ears and sometimes by nipping Maisie on the side.  Maisie also grooms with the other mares - she seems to be everyone's preferred grooming partner, perhaps because she does a good job without using her teeth too hard or nipping.

It's interesting that it's almost always mares who do the grooming thing.  We've had geldings do it, but nowhere near as often and certainly not regularly.  Similarly, the "face tag" (our horses don't wear halters in turnout so they can't do "halter tag" which is a variant) and play fighting - rearing, pawing - are exclusively gelding games - probably based on stallion behavior.

We're supposed to get more rain tonight, but right now it is good.


  1. We've got rain now and plenty of mud. We also have one gelding who loves to groom and the rest of them will actually stand in line waiting for him to do them. So when "Mel's Salon" is open everybody gets groomed, except the girls, who don't like it. I'm trying to figure that one out.

  2. Hey Kate...nice to meet you. I will get you on the blog roll! I was all set to head to the barn this morning...and it was snowing big cottonballs..decided to to stay home. Our barn is at a higher elevation...if it is snowing is a blizzard there. Look forward to getting to know your herd.

  3. Interestingly I see the geldings at our farm grooming each other a lot more than I see the mares engaged in grooming. Maybe it is just an individual horse thing vs. a gender thing. I do agree that all of the play fighting is done by the geldings at our place.

  4. It's interesting that other herds have more gelding grooming than ours - it's probably a matter of specific herd dynamics, or, as Melissa suggests and with Grey Horse Matters' description of Mel, a matter of specific horses.

  5. Well, my Boys may groom each other, but for sure they do the "destroy the blanket/sheet" routine with startling regularity. *sigh*

  6. oh the mud! we've got it too, and it is a nightmare, but i'll take it over the frozen stuff right now!

    we put our boys and girls out together, but the two mares actually hate each other, so it's the boys who do all the grooming.

    but they also play. hard. they haven't destroyed their blankets yet (fingers crossed) but they mangle a lot of halters, and they all come in with huge chunks of hair missing :-\ silly boys.


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