Tuesday, August 3, 2010

covers

It is always surprising to me that any horse, domestic or wild in origin, seem to accept a covers on there back the first time, with very little stress and worry. Surely this would be one of those things that you think, would cause them concern?

Its been raining for three days straight, I'm going stir crazy. I cant even leave because the creek across the driveway has risen so high u cant get a car through.Its the kind of rain that you only understand if you live in this wet kind of climate. Not a hard tropical downpour that moves on as suddenly as it started, or a light rain that refreshes everything. Water has been pouring out of the sky solidly for three days. Some times heavy down pours, some times just plain old rain and the rest of the time it drizzles and moisture hangs so thick in the air you seem to be breathing it in every time you step outside and even inside in the dry everything feels damp.

Ive noticed with weather like this the first day everything looks sparkly fresh, greener and the farm covered in new streams and puddles that form great canals across the paddock and driveway's. The geese and ducks are in heaven they don't have to walk anywhere, spend the whole day paddling to there hearts content.The horses are full of energy and spring fever, galloping around ripping up grass, jumping and pawing in the new puddles. everything is exciting.

Second day, everyone goes on life as usual, ignoring the rain. not exciting anymore.

Today everything looks weary. The trees and plants are all bent over from the weight of water. the geese and ducks are content to sit by the house, and the horses wait miserably at the gate, huddled, tails to the wind, desperately wanting to come in to the barn for the day. Any silliness and excuberance is long gone they just plod through puddles to the barn and their waiting hay. sick of being wet, and resigned to being wet for a while longer.

The 3 horses stabled at night, the Shetland, the wild stallion and Milo the pony, were less keen to leave the comfort of their stable than usual. I decided it was time the stallion got acquainted with a cover. Yes i know, being from the wild he can survive without one . but it saves me time and money if he warm and dry, instead of shivering and wet losing weight. Hes just stating to look good, don't want to go back to how he was before. being covered has the added bonus that they get a little bit of extra handling each, and get used to straps and things around there legs.

So at this stage i don't treat the wild ones much different from the domestic horses, horses are just horses. Its no differant putting cover on wild stallion for the first time as it is putting it on one of my own yearlings. I'm sure it helps that they get used to seeing them being put on, and taken off the older horses everyday around the barn. Scariest thing always seem to be when you come towards them carry a big huge blanket.

like any horse bay had a good sniff of his cover before i threw it on his back. its an old cover that used to belong to my old welsh pony(they don't get there own cover until they stop growing and have proven there not cover wrecker in the paddock), i think the smell of musty horse,interested him more than the actual blanket. So when he was done with his inspection, i carefully placed it on his back. He did try and move away as i lifted it toward him, but i kept the cover there and he accepted it. on his back it went, he blinked.....that was pretty much the only reaction there was to wearing his very first blanket...I led him in a circle to make sure he was comfortable.took the cover off and on again a few more times to get him used to that. Then spent ten minutes fiddling and adjusting belly and leg straps, he didn't seem to mind one bit. Off to the paddock with the others ponies in the pouring rain. Now we have a covered wild stallion, no big deal.

O also because i cant work the horses at moment, due to weather. Ive managed to put in some decent grooming hours. Both grey and the stallion are shedding like crazy. There new coats coming through, are darker, richer and both have lustrous shine to them. The yellowed, dry, dull looking hair is disappearing from there flanks and legs. The dreadlocks in their manes and tails were de-tangeld weeks ago.By spring i don't think you will be able to tell from the appearance that they ever ran wild, or how sorry they looked when they first arrived.