Category Archives: Musings

NIGHT GRAZING… A great idea until the lawnguy gets in a tiff with the ranch heckler.


Sunday, February 19th, 2017 | Filed under Musings




I received this new photo of Bodhi taken on Valentine’s Day and it made me remember what a character he is.  So, I dug out this story to remember both Slick and Bodhi.

Originally published 2/25/13.

Bodhi, going for a ride on Valentine’s Day 2017.

NIGHT GRAZING… A great idea until the lawnguy gets in a tiff with the ranch heckler.

A few weeks ago, I decided to night graze Bodhi.

It worked out really well, so I’ve been night grazing him ever since.

Have you heard of night grazing?

Well, it is good for a few reasons… mainly, the grass is less sugary at night.  I like that.

The other reason I like night grazing is because Hubby doesn’t come home and have to play chicken with whatever loose and grazing horse happens to be ambling down the driveway.

You get my drift…

Here is a piece I found on night grazing:

Night grazing can be very useful. The best time to graze while gaining maximum benefit of forage without adding extra fat on your horse is between 3 am until 10 am. At this time pasture plants have used up most of the accumulated sugar built up during the day. Since there’s not many of us that want to set our alarm clocks to 2:45 am, what works for some horse owners is to turn horses out as late as possible in the evening (say, 10 pm), and bringing them in the next morning before heading off to work. Another useful alternative to night grazing is turning horses out on pasture in the early morning (like 6 am) and bringing them in by about 10am when plant production of sugar becomes high once again

LAWNBOY

I picked Bodhi to graze at night because he has the smallest paddock (it isn’t small) and because as a half draft, his idea of movement is to lay down and then get up.  So, letting him out forces him to wander – which also exercises his mind, my favorite kind of equine exercise.

Anyway, I call Bodhi, “LawnBoy” because he does a better job of trimming the lawns than any human we have ever hired.

Who knew?!

Our meticulous gelding will edge and trim all the way down the driveway, into the circular rock gardens, up on the hillsides to the arena and around back by the vegetable garden – he visits all areas in a smooth and constant rotation.

In doing so – being a good Taurean – Bodhi manages his work very carefully and this keeps his mind occupied and his spirit contented.

His lawn skills have made us, and him, very happy.

Until last night…

LAST NIGHT

Let me digress a bit…

I suffer from Lyme Disease (sucks) and am presently trying a light therapy.  This consists of much technology that I don’t fully understand, and a device velcroed to my calf when I sleep.

Easy enough…

OK, so back to the story.

Last night, around 2am, I heard a gawdawful wail outside.

I sat bolt upright in bed and listened intently.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

OMG!  Bodhi is hurt!!!!!

I heard him thundering past the windows at a pace most drafts only dream about.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

OMG!!  A MOUNTAIN LION MUST BE ON HIS BACK!

I sprang out of bed,  not fully awake, and threw myself downstairs amidst a choking quagmire of newly awakened puppies and an opportunistic cats mewing for an early breakfast.

“GET OUT OF MY WAY!” I screamed as I clawed my way to the front door

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

Now I was sure he was bleeding to death – he’d cut himself horribly on something awful.

As I struggled with Scarface images, I tried to put my boots on but I couldn’t figure out what was the problem…

AAARGH!  WHY WON’T THESE GO ONNNNNN??

…and then I remembered.

I had lights velcroed to my leg.

Have you ever tried to remove velro in the pitch dark when you cannot find the ends?

OMGOMGOMG!  WHERE ARE THE FLIPPING ENDS? as I grabbed furiously at my leg.

It was probably hysterical to watch but it wasn’t funny at the time.

Well, maybe a little.

I had puppies circling me while I hopped on one leg, cursing and thrashing at my calf, clawing and ripping at my very expensive light therapy device.

Out of frustration, I just shoved my foot into my boot, grabbed my coat and put my headlamp on upsidedown.

Thank Gawd it was a full moon or I would have been totally lost because for the life of me I couldn’t figure out WHY in the world my headlamp wouldn’t turn on!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

He paused when he heard my voice…

“BODHI, WHERE ARE YOU?  ARE YOU OK????!!!”

“Uh oh,” I heard him say.

The moon shone down and I saw them.

Bodhi had been taken down by the pony heckler.

Yup.

The Slickster had thrown some sort of littleman barb at the big man – and that infuriated him.

Bodhi was running back and forth in front of the pony pasture while Slick raced on the inside, snaking his demon neck and baring his tiny, serpent tongued mouth at the crazed big’un.

Once I realized that Bodhi was fine – other than his ego being injured – I hobbled over to the barn to retrieve his giant halter.

‘BODHI, STOP IT!   I-G-N-O-R-E THE PONY!’

B (innocently frozen in place):  Stop what?

Me:  You cannot fool me.  Look how hard you are breathing.

B:  What?  I’m fine.  Nothing to see here… (sweat dripping from the base of his ears)

Me:  Here, put your head in your halter.  Your fun night is over.

B:  HE STARTED IT.

Me.  I’m sure of that… but tonight, your job ends early.

B (sheepishly):  Alright.

It was then that I noticed the very cold breeze.

I had no pants on.

It was 30 degrees and I had no pants, only my muck boots on with no socks and an upsidedown headlamp.

That was one thing the article on Night Grazing forgot to mention… you need a Fireman’s knowhow when something goes wrong… perhaps have an adult sized onesie at the ready.

Huge Lawnboy, Bodhi.

Huge Lawnboy, Bodhi.

15 MINUTES LATER I WAS BACK IN BED

I crawled back in bed, my skin the temperature of a sea creature.

I mused at Lawnboy and hoped he had learned his lesson and wouldn’t fall victim to the ponytude again.

Hubby was still asleep.  He hadn’t heard a thing…

Slick. The master at PonyTude!

Slick. The master at PonyTude!

 

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‘THE VOICE’ for horses!






ORIGINALLY POSTED:  5/20/2013

I’m going to watch the finals of THE VOICE tonight.

That got me thinking…What about my horses and their voices?

Have you ever really listened to their voices?

Here’s what I mean…

MY HORSES’ VOICES.

As I think through my crew, I can tell you that I do recognize all of their distinctive voices.  Some call, some nicker, some scream… but it is all their voice.

They want to be heard.

For example…

This is a Sable Island horse and he is yawning, not singing, but I liked the photo...

This is a Sable Island horse and he is yawning, not singing, but I liked the photo…

THE CALLERS

Norma, Bodhi and Slick will call whenever they see me or think that I am going to emerge from the house or the car.

They want something.  I really don’t think it is a “hello” – ever.

Well, maybe sometimes but these three are needy…

Norma’s bray is quite distinctive and penetrating.  Norma will bray when she is upset or when she wants food.  Usually she is upset about wanting food.  If she actually knew how well her voice worked, she might use it more…  As it is, I try not to come when she brays for fear I will train her into waking the neighborhood daily.

norma face

Bodhi will softly rumblenicker often.  He is the most vocal of the herd.  Since Bodhi is behind the house, he can hear me as I move about.  He can also see me if I am in the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen.  So, he calls all the time, in a low ‘come hither’ beckon.

I like it.  And, it works.  More often than not, I will hear his sweet lullaby directed towards me –  and as if in a trance, I let him out to graze on the lawns.  He has me well trained.

Bodhi

Bodhi

Slick just wants attention.  Any kind of attention.  His high pitched whinny generally means, “Come over here now!  I’ve got plans and lots to do so get over here and open the gate or give me a cookie!”

He is so dang cute, I usually call back to him or walk over and noogie his mop-topped head.  This utterly infuriates him.  He’ll snake his pony neck and stomp all around… he really wants respect.  So, I usually hug, kiss and pet him until he feels like the King he so wants to be.

slick

THE ALARMIST

Finn will rumble at me when I come down to feed.  He has a very sexy nicker.  I suppose that is why all the mares love him.

But Finn has a voice on him.

Oh Brother…

Finn rarely uses his voice for anything other than a nicker – UNLESS – we are at a new trailer parking lot full of other horses.  Then, he takes the opportunity to scream, full volume.  Finn has the movie typical horse holler.  Loud and shrill with a snortle at the end.

When he does this, I feel like chopped liver.

“What about me?”, I ask.  “Why aren’t you happy with just me?”

Finn tells me that he has to ‘check in’ with all the other horses until he is sure the place is safe…  He is simply sounding the alarm to test the waters…  If any of the other horses sound off, he knows he needs to RUN!

Great.

Finn is my alarmist.

Handsome Finn

Handsome Finn

THE QUIET, POLITE ONE

Dodger also has a quiet voice he uses to greet me whenever he sees me.  He doesn’t raise his voice or scream.  He simply salutes me…  unless he needs to use his big boy voice to state a problem.  If Dodger uses his big voice, I know I had better check things out.  He wouldn’t disturb me or raise his voice unless it was real.

For a tiny pony, he has a big, deep voice.

Sweet Dodger

Sweet Dodger (Norma behind)

CRAZY TALK

Wrigley will scream for play.  Wrig will scream if he feels insecure.  Wrig will scream for Tess.

He is like a hyper active kid.  He cannot whisper.  He has to yell.

He doesn’t even nicker for food.  Wrig is so busy pushing and shoving, he forgets to ask kindly… Such an odd little man…  I think things will change once he settles into adulthood.

Wrigley. The youngest.

Wrigley. The youngest.

CHATTY KATHY.

Gwen is a talker.  She nickers at me and will carry on an entire conversation for as long as I am within her sight.  Mostly, she is describing how much she really needs some sort of tidbit or food item.  Often, she will stand on the fence boards or prop herself up on a gate to exclaim more clearly – so that I don’t miss her requests.

Gwen will not be ignored.

For a girl, she has a very throaty nicker.

When she screams, her voice is very low and powerful.  Most of the horses don’t mess with her.

If I hear Gwen scream, I go out because it means she is fighting.  She is a fighter.

Gwen will do anything for attention. She is very, very smart.

Gwen will do anything for attention. She is very, very smart.

TALK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG STICK

MamaTess will nicker constantly if I am near.  Now that she is in the barn, she follows me around and ‘ho hoo hooos’ in my ear or at the back of my neck, con-stant-ly.

She wants food.  She wants a scratch.  She wants to let me know if I’ve hit the sweet spot…

But she isn’t all sweetness.

This girl can sighdisgust with the best of them.  If I do not do what she requests, she will blow snort sigh phhleffwwt her disgust.  You know what I mean.

But in her younger days,  if the Grand Dam screamed – which she has only done twice in her entire life – the whole herd would run amok with fear.  She was the leader and her screams meant she was really, really upset with another horse.

All of the horses ran away – in fear.

That girl was amazing.  Still is.

MamaTess when she was pregnant with Wrigley... just before he emerged.

MamaTess when she was pregnant with Wrigley… just before he emerged.

GARY COOPER

Rojo the new Mustang doesn’t say much.  But when he does speak, we take note.

In fact, it has been just since I moved him to his solitary pasture (it isn’t that bad – he has horses across both fences and can touch them) that he nickered at me.  Last week, for the first time, he nickered when he saw me bringing his dinner.  I melted.

When I have heard Rojo call loudly – with a slightly wild eye – it was when a horse he didn’t know and couldn’t see – called.  It could have been a neighbor horse or a horse riding by in a trailer.  This unknown horse calling will really upset Rojo.  I’m not sure if he is trying to alert his herd or if he is trying to help the one who called.

In either case, I respect the way he thinks.

The newest addition - the newly captured (poor guy) and the newly loved.

The newest addition – the newly captured (poor guy) and the newly loved.

GO WITH THE FLOW

Sam, the other wild mustang, doesn’t say much, either.  She nickers at me in a barely audible (as if she really isn’t nickering unless you get very very close) tone and pretends she isn’t nickering.

The only time I heard her call was when her baby still lived here and she would call to her.

Most of the time, Sam watches.  She doesn’t use her voice.

Sam, the very reserved Mustang.

Sam, the very reserved Mustang.

BG (Beautiful Girl) also doesn’t say much.  She will nicker at food time but BG is very sensible…

…Unless there is a thunder storm.  If there is a weather change, BG is the weather reporter.  When I hear BG’s very feminine call, I know there is a storm brewing…

Sweet, smart, unassuming, kind and solid BG. She is Finn's full sister. BG hates storms.

Sweet, smart, unassuming, kind and solid BG. She is Finn’s full sister. BG hates storms.

THE SENTRY

Remi, the third mustang of the group, is solid as a rock and the toughest mare.  She’s been there and done that… This girl is the brute with the golden heart.

She also sounds the alarm.

I know that if I hear Remi’s shrill, piercing and long scream, there is a big problem.  Remi can get me bolt upright in bed and out to the pasture in seconds.

Remi doesn’t mess around.  This girl stands guard and is ready to jump in and move the ball along.  She was the one who let me know when Aladdin was down.

Remi. My beautiful protector and sentry. She is one tough mare.

Remi. My beautiful protector and sentry. She is one tough mare.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR HORSES?…

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