The weather and lack of daylight has ground riding to a halt again this week. Torrential rain, but I had been hoping for rain for Buttons sake as apparently it 'leaches' out the sugars being stored within the grass. It all seems to make sense now, from what I've read about freezing temperatures, sugars in the grass and the prolonged very cold and dry winter we've had. Well, there's been plenty of snow, but very few rain showers. Never thought I'd hear myself say I wanted it to rain. Buttons has been getting 2 hours of turnout in the afternoons this week. He goes out roughly between 12pm and 2pm. The temperatures have stayed above freezing, but I asked for him to go out around this time, to allow the mares time on the grass before he goes out and to allow the temperature to increase. If the temperature does go below zero or the ground is hard, I have asked that he be kept in. I feel that 2 hours is enough for him at the moment, but I do hope to slowly increase his turnout time. I've also been having a little look into grazing muzzles. I have never used one and have always been dead set against them, but I have to weigh up what would be best for Buttons. Extended times being put in his stable to keep him off the grass or the possibility of more turnout time if he wore the grazing muzzle at 'high risk' times and it worked for him. I had thought about one in the past for Wolfie, but he gets frustrated at haynets, ending up with his feet stuck in them, he definitley wouldn't cope with one, but Buttons I think would be more tolerant. It's definitely something I have to consider even just to try it. It might not work for him. Most articles I've read have said that the majority of horses get used to them and accept them very quickly. I've looked at the green guard muzzles and also Dinky rugs make muzzles especially for minatures and Shetlands. I don't like horses being out in the field with headcollars on, so I would need to get the breakaway halter. Buttons is also a bit of a houdini. Many a time I have tied him up, gone to get something, came back and his headcollar and leadrope are still where I tied him, but no Buttons. He can slip his headcollar. If anyone has used a grazing muzzle, I would appreciate your thoughts. Good or bad.
Wolfie and I went for a nice hack with H and J on Sunday. We went along the road and down onto the line. That's the first time Wolfie has been out on the road and that way since about October. He was very good. A bit joggy and bouncey when we first got onto the road, but that was just freshness and anticipation. As we got onto the line, some trees have been cut down and there were piles of stacked tree trunks. He had a bit of a spook and J took the lead and we passed them. Wolfie then walked the line, really striding along. We approached the 'scarey' bridge. He was looking, but he didn't hesitate and stepped straight onto it. He was walking like he was on hot coals over it and as he stepped back onto the tarmac off the bridge, he spooked himself at the change of sound of his feet on the tarmac as opposed to the wood of the bridge and leapt in the air. But he was fine and I was so impressed at how he boldly tackled it, no hesitation whatsoever. He's warey of it, but I really don't think it's going to cause too many problems and his previous bad experiences at the bridge, don't seem to have produced a totally negative response.
I've been choked with the cold this week, simple things such as changing rugs and picking out feet have proved exhausting. Yesterday I decided to redo the plaits in Wolfie's mane. Because I see Wolfie every day, his mane always looks the same, but when I do brush it or plait it, I notice that it has actually grown. The longest part of his mane is now about 1 and 1/2 inches below his point of shoulder. If I'm honest there are times when it really annoys me, it gets caught in the reins and my fingers and on many occasions I have seriously considered cutting and pulling it, but I know that I would regret it as soon as I had did it. It's part of him and I love it when it is all clean and brushed. Not all of them can grow manes that length. In the summer I leave it and just put a running plait it when I ride. I'm really only plaiting it just now as he keeps sticking his head in those burr things and even with a full neck rug on, manages to get them tangled everywhere and it's a job and a half to get them out, especially when he doesn't particularly like having his mane brushed.