The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back Yard Bounty

The lawn mower suffered a relapse and had to be taken in for minor surgery. Thank heavens, it is not a blown gasket as originally diagnosed, but a much cheaper problem; it returns home tomorrow. In the meantime, though, it seemed a crying shame to let this go to waste:

I set about patching all the leaks in the back yard.

When all was secure, I went to the gate to see who wanted to venture forth and pig out. I decided to let only one out at a time . Bridget arrived first and stood in the open gate: "What? No halter? Go out alone into the world?" She hesitated too long, and George came blustering over. Bridget scuttled off, and George - after due reflection - exited onto the lawn. Not for long. He too thought it rather strange and asked to be let back in.

He proceeded to vent all his nervousness in a mad dash around the field, driving the mares before him.

Having got that off his chest, George exited via another gate and proceeded to get down to grazing.

Well now, this isn't so weird after all.
Hand grazing is undoubtedly a noble and self-sacrificing activity for the horse owner, but it is not always the most amusing pastime, so I am happy to have a way now to let the horses take turns coming out to enjoy some extra grass. Hand grazing, however, was not entirely done away with, as Bridget shows:

It's funny how they don't want a handful of grass: they want you to hold the grass so they can graze it out of your hand, bite by bite.

After George had been returned to the fold, I wanted to let Bridget out. This time, she knew exactly what was at stake. We exchanged meaningful glances and nonchalantly snuck away from George toward the gate, one on each side of the fence. As soon as the gate was open, Bridget darted through.

Looks pretty good out here.
I'll have to watch Bridget more closely than the others, as she has a penchant for eating weird plants. She had a bite of poppy today, and last year she was all for eating the wisteria. Tomorrow I'm hoping to let Rose out before I mow. Chloe will have to wait until there isn't quite so much food.

I'm hoping also that coming out at liberty onto the lawn will enable them, once their desire for lush grass is somewhat sated, to explore the human environment a little - to maybe hang out at the picnic table with me, to look in at the windows, to share space in the human habitat. And if they come out one at a time and have a pleasant experience, perhaps it will encourage them to look favorably on solo excursions away from the herd.


  1. I've been doing very similar things with my herd bound little mare, so I'm hoping you're on the right track for building "solo courage."

    I liked how you called it patching up the leaks :)

  2. I'm about to write another entry about the "solo courage" progress!