...to what is that blue thing over there??
Last September, I wrote a post entitled, It really is there; even when it's not which had to do with [our] horse's strange behavior and my learning to be more persistent in finding the cause of it. Thankfully, this time the source was not quite so hard to find; although I have to admit it was infinitely more entertaining. There must be some sort of obscure equine rule that dictates things must happen at mealtimes (it sure seems they always do). Particularly in the morning, when it has the added benefit of making me late for work. The girls came down for breakfast the other morning, the same as they do every day twice a day. This time though when they were about even with the stalls, they suddenly started snorting, head bobbing, turning in circles, then goose-stepping forward with tails up, heads still bobbing, and nostrils flaring taking only a few steps at a time. What on earth??? After scrutinizing the landscape repeatedly and coming up empty, I admit I was at a bit of a loss.
Well, it would seem our canine neighbor was doing a bit of heavy housecleaning. He had somehow managed to wrestle the large mattress from the inside of his doghouse to the outside and was doing his best to kill it dead (although he wasn't making any noise at all). Because he was moving back and forth from the far to near side of his house dragging the mattress, I managed to miss him several times until I went back to Lady and walked directly down her line of vision one last time. I didn't get a shot of the mattress on its own, which is too bad as it looked rather like a gigantic lumpy turtle before the triumphant dog flopped on it. I did, however, manage to catch this one after he wore himself out and sprawled across the top of it to rest (it was apparently a long and exhausting battle; the victory definitely hard won). Finally...mystery solved and I'm late for work; NOW can we eat? Sheesh :o)
Like most animals, our horses morph into four-legged fuzzballs during the winter months; even here in south Alabama their winter woolies are very well developed. One of the coolest things about winter (I just love a bad pun, don't you?), is the altered sleep schedule. When winter hits, instead of sleeping during the late night/early morning hours, they will wait until the sun is high into the sky before doing any serious resting. Horses have sleep patterns that are vastly different than ours; they catch most of their Z's while standing up on three legs (which makes total sense when you're a prey animal; besides, you never know when there might be another mare-eating mattress laying/lying? - in wait...Ha).
When a horse wants to lay down, they assume one of two different recumbent positions: sternal (laying on their chest with the chin resting on the ground), or lateral recumbent, which is laying flat out on their side. Horses will usually only do this when they are either feeling relaxed or are very sick. A horse needs only about 30-45 minutes of rest in the recumbent position every 24 hours; the rest of their sleep is done standing up. In a herd that is resting, one or two horses will act as a "Sentinel" for the rest of the group, dozing lightly on three legs and listening for danger.
I think I'll call this next shot "The Great Snoozefest". What do you think? Obviously our horses are comfortable enough with me that they did not feel the need to rise on my approach, although Taya did lazily open one eye in acknowledgement before going right back to sleep (points for me - yay ;o) Lady was standing guard (earlier photo), while Sarabear, Rina, Bella, and Taya caught their 40 winks.
In the big pasture, Shadow (you can see him at the top of the above photo) and Max (to the left above) were snoozing as well. while Cinnamon dozed and kept an ear open by the hay pile (Champ was busy having his own personal porkfest; you can just see the top of his head behind the hay :o)
Hopefully, this will be our last year of "pushing" the pasture (I know DD is heartily sick of that little pushable spreader). Now that we have Tillie [the tractor], seeding the pasture should be a snap once we get a real spreader; or at least it'll be considerably less time consuming and tedious. It also means that once we get our hands on some dirt, we can rebuild the terraces and finally put a stop our erosion crises. Because things were so dry at the end of fall, we did not put out the winter rye as we normally do (hence the sad looking pasture of dirt and dead grass *sigh*). We are supposed to have some [hopefully light] rain on Monday or Tuesday, so maybe we will have some yummy rye grass for everyone before too long.
Which brings us to the mystery of the blue thing. As I was busily snapping photos of the girls, I caught a flash of something blue by Shadow's leg further up the hill. Do you see it? I'll beg your pardon on the camera angle; we got a little bit *cough* personal with the zoom there; please excuse (and um, sorry about that Shadow :o)
It would seem that DD opted to take a little break from spreading seed, and found herself a nice cosy spot to rest. Although she was not actually asleep, Shadow had completely conked out *grin*. I guess he was comfortable enough with his two-legged teddy bear to catch some serious Z's - mouth hanging open and everything (and is that funny or what?)
I wonder if there is a "Mother Hen" category in the Guinness Book of World Records. At 1,100lbs, I'm thinking Shadow may just be the world's largest...what do you think? Apparently, after the nap comes the bath (somehow I thought it was supposed to be the other way around, but what do I know? :o)
We love you Shadow...you silly boy. As always, thanks for reading this far and I hope you all have a wonderful week; chock full of your own happy naps and warm fuzzy wuzzies :o)
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