I implemented all my usual distraction techniques. I planned the event to coincide with a feeding; I especially planned it to be during the first feeding of the day, and I put the first hay of the day as far from the gate as possible. All of that just wasn’t enough to overcome the greatest pony magnet that exists: green grass.
Yesterday we brought in four new squares of hay to replace ones that had been put up too wet and had molded from the inside out. The exclosure where we put the hay in our largest paddock had the first grass of the season coloring it, so when my husband began to open the fence, Willowtrail Wild Rose knew that an opportunity was about to present itself. Once the fence was open, she made a beeline for her first taste of spring green. Before long, Willowtrail Mountain Prince joined her. At least one part of my distraction techniques worked; they didn’t put pressure on the gate as my husband went in and out with the hay bales!
On the other hand, the distraction techniques were miserable failures in terms of keeping the ponies out of the way. Once one bale was safely stowed, the ponies couldn’t be budged from its side despite persistent honking of the horn. Good desensitization to heavy equipment, I guess! I thought they were so cute peeking over the top of the bale as we shut the fence that I had to take a picture before I shooed them out to where they belonged.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2013