Monday, October 8, 2007

A Shift in Power

After giving them last night to adjust to each other over the fence, today I opened the gate to let the yearling horses (Torchsong and Shane) in with the weanling fillies.

I'm putting them together because the yearlings are getting a bit thinner than I want them to be. Partially because at their age they need to put a lot of energy into growing, and partially because at their age, they were at the very bottom of the herd pecking order, which means the older, bigger horses would take more than their share of the food.

So by moving the yearlings in with the weanlings, I am able to give them more feed and make sure that no one drives them away from it.

Both yearlings---most especially Torchsong---have been too mild mannered for their own good amongst the adult mares. But today, finding themselves suddenly the oldest and biggest members of their new little herd, they were quick to assert themselves.

There were fierce looks, bared teeth, ears laid back, even some charging and kicking... all with a great, dramatic flurry of dust in the dry paddock. When the scuffling was over, Torchsong and Shane were happily in possession of the hay feeder, and the weanlings were standing bewildered at the other end of the paddock.

I moved a second hay feeder in, and soon everybody was eating happily.

The new hay we just got from our hay guy was super expensive---because of the drought, prices have gone up yet again. But at least this new hay is better quality, so we may be able to feed less with more nutrition and less waste. With luck, it will even out to be about the same as what we were paying before.

Everything is so painfully dry here. The soil has turned completely to dust, and what little grass there is has turned crunchy under foot. It was 90 degrees here today---scarcely normal for October!---and no rain in sight. The poor sheep were just miserable all day. They can't wait for real fall weather to finally arrive.

It was so hot that when I was filling the water trough, Libby and the other weanling fillies came up and wanted to be sprayed with the hose. Libby loves that! She turns herself around and around to make sure you get the spray all over her.

Then, once they were all clean and wet, they immediately went and dried off by rolling in the dirt, leaving themselves completely coated with grit, like chicken cutlets breaded for frying. It was pretty funny!

Thanks to my recent Ebay sales, we were finally able to pay our neighbor Bob for the last of the alfalfa he gave us on credit two months ago. That's a relief, since I know the drought is really hurting his farm's finances too. I felt really bad about making him wait for his money!

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