There we were,living the dream, and then winter started. It’s hard to break the habit of thinking the long summer days are still with us. It seems like just a few weeks ago that we could work till late evening if we hadn’t got everything finished. Now the clocks have changed and it’s a tricky to fit everything in. Lunch breaks are spent eyeing the clock as any loitering will surely result in a rush to finish before the light goes. Our lovely, dedicated yard helpers are already doing quite a bit in the dark.
Clinics are over for the year. As well as several long term training liveries and a couple of horses whose owners are on a vacation, we’ve got a couple of horses in for starting, which is always fun. However, although they are two of the most pleasant horses you ever could meet, and their training is coming on very nicely, they aren’t good with the electric fence. They’ve broken something down each of the last 4 nights. Nicole has run out first thing to separate them from our herd two days in a row in spite of moving them to a different paddock, seemingly endless hours spent reinforcing the electric tape, getting the current really strong, and eventually putting up a second fence line, all to no avail. The last straw came when one of our liveries suffered a puncture wound to the flank which could have been really serious. We think it was caused by a fence post. He’ll be ok but the youngsters have broken the fence one time too many. So they are in for the night now, while the rest of the herd are out. It will cause management and possibly training issues, and stress to them. It isn’t ideal, but there isn’t an acceptable alternative.
We’re really pleased that the grass in the field has done well since hay was taken off it in late summer. We have as usual kept our winter field free of horses since early spring, but unlike previous years, have taken a hay crop off it. It’s done much better than in previous years when it was either topped or grazed with sheep. There is still a lot of grass in about half of the summer paddock, which will last them for a good month yet, and they will be getting fatter till well after Xmas after they are put on the winter field (their favourite moment of the whole year!). This combined with the huge apple crop we have been collecting has us thinking there are not many herds better catered for in this country. Certainly, in all but one of the yards I have visited recently, I have noticed a complete lack of grazing. I don’t envy those who are facing the prospect of feeding large quantities of hay already.
Annoyingly, our plans to get at least one of our surplus horses out on loan or sold have hit the rocks, when the main candidate had a nasty hoof abscess which has scuppered the training that was aimed at getting him fit for sale. Another mouth to feed all winter- and another year gone by without us learning how to sell a horse!