Home for the holidays

I brought Ben and Rosie home just after Christmas, hoping for some good rides on Ben. It was good to have them home! While I have not missed the daily mucking out, I have indeed missed them. Ben celebrated coming home by herding Rosie at speed around the track. I watched in amusement, feeling my energy lifting in response to theirs. Then I noticed Ben’s head tossing in my direction. A challenge! I ran around the track and Ben charged off, bucking and kicking with Rosie neatly dodging out of the way.

I used to think I could connect with Ben by sharing time with him, sitting nearby, and sometimes I can. But there are times when he tosses a challenge and at the end of my response to this we have re-connected. He is then keen to let me into his space, keen for contact and a rub.

The weather has been what, three years ago, I would have called typical for an Irish winter. The long big freezes of the last two years were an exception. We have had gusting rain, bursts of sunshine, hanging grey clouds, showers of hard hitting hailstones, strong winds and more rain. And more rain. And, did I mention? more rain.

This is what has happened to the ground by my haynets under the trees:

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Ben and Rosie have cleverly positioned themselves to the side, out of the worst of the mud. I have scraped back that thick, cloying mud many times. I have thrown stones in there. And the mud keeps coming up. I think I will have to put rubber mats down. I like that place under the trees otherwise. The ponies like it too and it is the best place for those haynets, providing shelter but being away from the stables. I have also left haynets in the stables, but Rosie never goes in, and Ben only rarely.

They do use all the track however, and like to shelter at the top with their backs to the hedge. So they move on hard ground and crusher dust as well.

I did not get in one ride over the holidays. Ben’s coat was far too wet. I did walk him in hand out the road a couple of times. My husband came leading Rosie and, while Ben strode over all the rough bits, Rosie chose the grass verge. But she is moving very well, better than she has all year and she was happy to walk on the road where it was smooth.  Ben initiated the first walk out the road. Shortly after he was home he strode up to the back gate and looked over it, then he looked back at me and then over the gate again. As clearly as if he spoke aloud he was saying “come on, isn’t this why you brought me here?”

I have also done work with Ben in the picadero which he has been enjoying I think as he has come up looking for more.

We go up to Dublin to my parents tomorrow and Ben and Rosie go back to the lake. In preparation for that exposed place I left them in the stables overnight to dry out so that I could put rugs on; just a rain sheet on Ben and a heavier rug on Rosie. Ben seemed quite happy to be in the stable. Rosie was clearly disgusted. Of the two, Rosie is the truly wild one.

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9 Comments

Filed under track system

9 responses to “Home for the holidays

  1. Your weather sounds miserable. We have the same problem with our hay nets and the mud. We’ve got to come up with something better too. I’ll be they were glad to be home with you for a little while.

  2. I’ve been informed there hasn’t been a dry day since I left. What a country we live in! I’m “living in the now” here, but if we are going to be successful with Barefoot longterm, I will have to put in a track system too with plenty of dry sections.

  3. quote: “We have had gusting rain, bursts of sunshine, hanging grey clouds, showers of hard hitting hailstones, strong winds and more rain. And more rain. And, did I mention? more rain.”
    I can just quote you Máire, because here in Holland it’s been exactly the same! It has been going on for weeks in a row now. I’m just about getting used to it ;-). I’m so happy with my paddock paradise, with still more than enough dry spots for the horses!
    Kría, one of my mares, is a bit crazy though (just a little ;-)): on New Year’s day, during one of those rain showers, she took a dive in our pool (she thought she wasn’t wet enough yet). Watch her: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FJDC5dBwKs

  4. Oh, it is so good to see Ben and Rosie at home for a bit!! The mud is most of the reason we do not use hay nets out and about. Fortunately we are not getting the sheer amount of rain as you but we did have a wet spell that seemed like an eternity! We’ve begun an ongoing project to bring various grades of stone in to create (if we can) mud-free areas. I’ve put a small grade in their shelter and just outside it and they seem to love it. Next we’ll bring in a bigger grade for gate-ways, and then we’ll surround the barn with something – haven’t quite decided what yet. Happy New Year to you and your entire family, human and equine!!

  5. June

    Marja – loved your video! That other horse looks like she thinks Kria is going a little too far.