Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Wisdom of the Chestnut Mare

Boo has a way of letting us know her preferences and ideas. It has been thus in the years we have been together, and we are always left curiously comforted when she is able to clearly communicate with us. We are, of course, sometimes a bit slow on the uptake, but her patient persistence always seems to break through our human fog.

So the most recent occurrence began with mud season's arrival, several weeks ago. The slight greening of the grass - more like a green tinged surface on the home paddock, wakened our still-winter-shut -down brain into flashes of pasture rotation strategies for the upcoming warm season.

By closing off 3/4 of this pasture, we would allow it to grow some grass and still provide the horses' access to the field through the regular gate. Fine, but the mud at this gate is suckingly horrendous, especially where the preferred path cuts a sharp left, threatening the stability of the adjacent gatepost. The initial plan was still viable until Boodles began discussing her plan with us.

Mind you, in hind sight, her plan began during the winter by removing the top rail in a section of the border fence at the top of the home paddock. The post was off just enough that our efforts to replace the rail would be futile until a total thaw.

Then, within the month, she carefully took down a rail on the shed yard fence. We left it down, as she would just remove it again. But, our design remained unchanged.

Yesterday, that entire section in the yard had been dismantled. All rails were down and the auxilliary post screwed to the main post had been detatched, thus giving the three horses direct access to the tree area where they eat their night time hay. They would no longer have to walk around the edges of the manure pile to reach their hay.

Standing in the new opening, we realized Boo had opened up a direct route across the upper hill to the section in the border fence with the dropped rail. By this opening, the horses were able to avoid the steep, rocky, muddy walk down to the gate with its own mud problems. Shrugging our shoulders, we closed off the regular path.

This morning, we simply removed the remaining two rails in the border fence to allow them access to the field without going through the mud, and now have a clear, efficient way to rotate their use of grazing areas.

The amazing thing here is Boo's ability to either read our mind, complete our thoughts, or demonstrate a remarkable ability to plan and execute practical changes in her environment. This is not the first time she has reordered her space to suit.

We look forward to working with her on future projects and hope next time, we are a bit quicker to get the message!


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