Yesterday I got in late from work and wasn’t able to take my Fell Pony mare Restar Mountain Shelley III and her foal Willowtrail Spring Maiden to pasture. Fortunately, our recent rains have caused all the grass around here to pop out of the ground with vigor, so I put them out to graze here.
Shelley is one of my mares that makes my management job easier. The grass that’s available here is along the driveway and around the house. We do not have a boundary fence; thick forest surrounds our place. Mares like Shelley have shown me that they know to stay around despite the lack of fencing. For broodmares, it is partly that they know that water is available here and not in the forest; they also know that the herd is here. But it’s also something about the mindset of these particular ponies, as I have other mares that I don’t trust in the same way. On days like yesterday, it really helps to know that I can utilize the grass here and not make my long day even longer by hauling to pasture and back.
Shelley makes my management job even easier because she puts herself back into her pen on her own. Usually I make sure that there’s a fresh pile of hay for her to return to, but even if I forget to do that, I often will find that she has returned to her pen awaiting me to shut the gate. Madie eventually follows her mother into the pen, too. Shelley and Madie get more grazing time at home because they’ve made my job so easy.
We had visitors over the weekend that were enthralled to see ponies running loose when they arrived. Shelley and Madie were out grazing that day, too. Madie even came to greet the visitors when they got out of their vehicle, just like our dogs did. It was quite funny to watch.
While Shelley makes my management job easier by sticking around and putting herself in, there is a small price to pay. Shelley likes to be treated like a princess, not like any old mare in the herd. She expects to be rewarded for being so cooperative. She makes me laugh when she cocks her head just so, asking for a treat for good behavior. There’s never a dull moment around here with these ponies!
© Jenifer Morrissey 2011