Monday, June 16, 2014

Airs Above the Ground

Today, Red finally got a bit of turnout with his herd - it's been about two months since he's been turned out anywhere except a 25'x25' pen.  The pasture he goes in is big - three or four acres - and there's another pasture behind it - another three or four acres - with grass.  So to get from the barn to the back pasture is a long, long way, with some up and down terrain.  I didn't want Red tearing at high speed from the gate all the way to the back.

So my plan was to give him some ace - just 2 cc oral which is some but not a lot - and lead him back as far as I could before letting him go, so he'd have less far to run.  So that's what I did.  He led amazingly well all the way to the top of the hill - credit the drugs.  When he spotted the horses in the far pasture, his head went up and  I unsnapped the lead.  Off he went at a moderate gallop - no where near as fast as he's capable of - with his tail flagged.  There was a bit of milling around when he got out there, but no aggression - the grass was the main attraction.

Since Red was somewhat sedated, I stayed out there with him in case any of the more rambunctious horses started to give him trouble.  Had to fend off a few, but it wasn't bad.  He mostly hung out with his best friend - a very tall (almost 18 hand) horse, and they even did a bit of grooming - Red was clearly very happy with the social interaction.

After 20 minutes, when I asked him to come with me back to the barn, he came willingly.  The only excitement was caused by the other horses "helping".  There were a couple of occasions when the rest of the herd started cantering up behind him - I guess to see where he was going - and he did some bolting in circles and even some pretty impressive airs above the ground.  But I held on to him and he didn't run me over - again, the drugs were helpful.  I improvised a "chain" by taking the lead over the noseband of his halter.  After that we led back in to his pen next to Pie with no trouble.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, he'll get 40 minutes of grazing with his friends.  I expect he'll start calming down once he knows the new routine.  As he calms down, I should be able to just let him go at the gate without having to worry so much or sedate him. In a week or so, he'll be up to whole day grazing.  Can't wait for that, but I'm just glad the first day of turnout went well.

5 comments:

  1. Yes, I bet you'll be as happy as Red when you get into a more normal routine!

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  2. I'm glad it went well too. He must have been very happy to be with his herd again. And a mutual grooming is always nice. ;)

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  3. Sounds like Red enjoyed himself. Grass is the big attraction for Apollo too, other horses are just a bonus.

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  4. sounds like the Ace was a good idea, glad the turn out went well

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  5. Sounds good. He actually is quite a sensible boy. Happy to hear he will be out with the herd soon.

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