Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cruise Ship For Horses and Trail Permit

You know those cruise ships where there's an all-you-can-eat buffet, and where it's possible to eat, and eat and eat until you can't eat any more? That's what the pastures at the (old) barn are like right now. The grass is profuse and tall. We have far too few horses for the acres of grazing, so the pastures are going wild. We did finally get some of them mowed over the weekend, but the guy doing the mowing either set the mower too high or else the blades were dull. You can hardly see where he mowed and all the medium-height grasses, full of seed heads, are still there. We've got a number of insulin-resistant horses and a growing number of very, very fat horses - a recipe for disaster. Although our grasses have been carefully managed to have the right types for horses, there's just too much and they're all over-eating. We have no large dry lot area for horses who need to lose weight or can't be on grass. We don't even have any eaten down pastures. This is one of the main reasons I moved Maisie - there just wasn't anywhere to put her where she wouldn't risk another attack of laminitis. I'm pretty worried about Dawn, who is getting fatter and fatter, and is insulin-resistant.

I've sent an e-mail to the other decision makers with the message that we need to make some changes for horse health. I hope they listen.

Dawn lost a shoe yesterday in a big pasture with lots of tall grass. I thought the odds of my finding it were low, but decided to try anyway. I had seen where she had done some of her playing at turnout. I made a circuit of the lower area of the pasture where she'd been rolling and playing, and what do you know, there was the shoe sticking up out of the grass! It's still usable, so there's a little money saved.

This morning I ordered a trail riding permit from our local forest preserve district. There are a number of nice preserves with excellent horse trails within an easy driving distance. The permit doesn't cost a lot - $35. I've been meaning to load up Maisie and go to some other locations for a while, and now that she's at a barn with no trails I'm more motivated. She also needs a break from time to time in her more intensive training regime. As soon as my back's recovered enough to hitch and unhitch my trailer, we'll be on the road - I'm hoping to get her out perhaps once a week.

20 comments:

  1. would some goats solve your problem?

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  2. English Rider - nope, goats generally don't eat the same things horses do - they can be good for controlling shrubs and weedy stuff. They really don't eat grass. They also require special goat-proof fencing.

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  3. Goats require fencing that even water won't go though! Go head as me how I know! :)


    That isa lucky horse shoe, you should keep that one. :)

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  4. Beth - what did they do, swim out?

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  5. Where is the old farm? Maybe Jimmy could come help with the grass problem ;-) Hehe.

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  6. What about a muzzle? Still eat and drink, just limits the amount of grass intake. Probably will still eat too much if grass is how you described, but definitely not as much.

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  7. Sheep! Knock the hell out of the grass in no time! Goats are good too! Nice site.

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  8. I know it is a true problem but I wish I had too much grass. I don't have enough grass for my horses so I have to feed hay year round. I am not complaining because at least they are in my back yard where I can see them anytime I please.

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  9. My suggestion would be to divide one of the pastures into a couple of smaller areas so they can get eaten down then have everything mown shorter. I am so grateful that our grass is more like a mown lawn. We just made a paddock for my friend's new horse with 2 rows of tape (electric) and those push in posts...about 40 x 80. It is within the pasture and works beautifully. I can't think of any other way for you to minimize the grass consumption. Good luck. Glad to hear that you are ready to take Maisie on some road trips.

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  10. Can I send my horses over? They would be in heaven. We have the opposite problem here in southern CA, no rain, no grass. Yuck!

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  11. too bad I just broke my darn leg! I would have trucked out with Fawkes to meet up with you for some nice easy trail riding.

    Keep your fingers crossed, maybe in the fall!

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  13. *Everything* about horses is balance, isn't it. I often think about pastures with not enough good grass but your post highlights the fact that the opposite is just as much of a problem.

    Ashley - if I'm not mistaken, muzzles work best in shorter grass, they aren't great in tall grass.

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  14. One lucky horseshoe and too much grass? One can have an abundance of wealth, can't one? *G*

    Doesn't sound good for the IR horses, that's for sure.

    Meantime, did Maisie get over her "Mad" from that day two posts ago??

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  15. Ashley - RuckusButt is right, I believe - short grass works for muzzles; our thick, tall grass doesn't work too well. Some horses seem to become experts in removing muzzles - we tried one with our pony Norman and he'd have it off in a flash.

    Cheyenne - sheep are a good idea, although they tend to eat things down to a point where the horses can't graze - but we aren't set up for them and I fear they'd just be more work.

    Jess - I'm sure Jimmy would love to help! But we're not taking boarders right now for a variety of reasons that are too much to go into here.

    Lori Skoog - we already use divided pastures, although I think we need to go smaller and use less of our total acreage and perhaps hay the rest.

    Stephanie - here's hoping you heal up soon so we can go on a ride together.

    Jean - Maisie was happier today, although a little bit stiff and sore - more on that later.

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  16. I am with 5 oclock ! I could send you a few LOL. What about some beef calves. You could grass them for the summer and either proccess them for your own use or market them in fall. Grass fed beef is pretty popular

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  17. I sure wish I had too much grass! My fields have such sparse field grass that I have to wait until June 1st to put my horses out just so the grass can get a good headstart.

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  18. I think it's really important to give horses (and ourselves) that break from the arena.

    Bar and Lena are both ready for a trail ride, unfortunately one of us has to have a fully healed arm first. Bah.

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  19. Having too much grass is rarely a problem in boarding stables here... Too bad someone couldn't mow it properly or something.

    I like the idea of sheep or goats for a while - they would help you out!

    I hope your dental appt. goes well - sore teeth are no fun at all. Also hope your back is feeling better soon so that you and Maisie can get out on some trails.

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  20. Hi Kate,
    I have, what some call, an "air fern" horse - she wears a grazing muzzle 23/7 and still manages to hold or even gain weight.
    I was introduced to the concept of "Paddock Paradise" by another blog friend, and I heard good things for those using it.
    Here are a couple of links for you:

    http://www.performancebarefoot.co.uk/page64.html

    http://paddockparadise.wetpaint.com/

    I lost my first pony, years and years ago, to chronic laminitis -

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