What a difference leaves make to my outlook!
Saturday was a busy day. My trimmers, John Graves and his daughter Sara came out and did the ponies' feet. Their feet are doing great and I'm sure the track will only make them better, although they have pretty great feet anyway, I'm happy to say. They were very complimentary about what I have done with the place since they saw it eight weeks ago.
In the afternoon I put up a fence for the second grazing cell. I really have no idea how often I "should" move them from one cell to the next, or how big the cells should be. Right now my system is that I have 16 cells, eight up each side of the property, and will try moving them once a month. They would get too much to eat, however, and also simply "camp" in the cell rather than move on the track, so I'm only opening the cell at night at the moment. If they are still getting too much, then I can reduce the size of cell or the time I allow them in. With only two ponies, I am more concerned that the land will be undergrazed than anything, but it is in need of a rest, too, so I hope it will work out.
Since the ponies have been strip grazed and had electric fences moved around in their world a lot over the past few years, I assumed (oops!) that they would be curious about this new fence, and find their way into the cell during the night. Nope! They must have checked the gate of their old cell, found it shut, thought "Humph!!" and not bothered to explore further as they were still on the track on Sunday morning, It's okay, there's still quite a bit of eating on the last section I opened up.
Sunday night, I made sure that I opened the gate when they were nearby, and showed it to them, and in fact, just moseyed with them for a bit in the new cell. This morning I fed them and shut the gate. I went off to a birthday lunch for my aunt an hour's drive away. When I got back about 3:30 they were still camping by the gate. Of course they may have been all over the farm while I was gone, but I don't think so. That area is a bit of a favourite lounging place anyway. But it got me thinking about whether they thought that I opened the gate because they were near it. Had I accidentally "trained" them to wait by the gate? Did they think that they had "trained" me to open it?? I made sure that they were leaving the area this evening before I opened it, but also tried to catch their attention just enough that they would notice.
I'm sure all this is just teething and that eventually they will see a routine to the whole thing. They will begin to understand that they will be moved from cell to cell, and to look for open gates. Heck, in Scotland it got to where they worked out when we were about to move them from their main field with the track to their relief grazing half a mile away.
I just loved this big sky!
On track. Spot the ponies!
New grazing cell open for business!
P.S. - I have also added some new pictures of the track to my page on Paddock Paradise site here