The Company We Keep

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Hermione and Jo were upgraded from the small grass pen to a three-acre pasture when our new colt was born four days ago. The original plan was to keep the colt and his dam in that same small pen for the first 10 days, and then introduce the two mares and two foals. We speeded up the process for a couple of reasons.

First, the wet and cold winter made the small enclosure a real mud pit, which was no fun for anyone–horse or human. Second, a main reason for the initial alienation was to give the new colt time to get comfortable on his feet before having to contend with a filly three weeks older than him. Watching Hermione and Brush Back shepherding their foals, though, it was pretty obvious that they were both plenty protective and it wasn’t likely that the foals would play too rough anytime soon. So we changed the plan and now they’re all pastured together. The two mares haven’t gotten within 20 feet of each other, and their ears get pinned back when the distance drops under 30 feet.

The horses’ familiarity and companionship will build quickly enough. I’m already looking forward to watching the filly and colt racing each other around their dams and playing little foal games.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of farm work to keep us busy. The run-ins can really use a good mucking-out. … Every horse on the farm needs a thorough grooming, which is a real chore now that they’re heavily shedding winter coats. … And I’ve been saying all winter that I need to clean up the hay loft. … The riding arena needs to be leveled and cleared of the weeds that popped up last fall. … Oh, and I guess it’s warm enough to do some much-needed fence repair…

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