Sunday, 18 March 2012

Winter feed costs 2011/12

Final calculation of feeding Merlin this winter (1st October to 31st March), since he won't be needing any more hay once this bale is finished:
3 bags of speedibeet c.£12 each
1 bag of greengold @ £12
2 lots of magic barefoot powder ;o) @ £46 each
45 bales of hay @ £3 each
16 bales of Horsehage @ £7.50 each
Total £395 or £65.83 a month or £2.16 a day.  Not bad at all.  Won't bother with the Horsehage next year, he would have been fine on just hay.

Walking out

Ooooh, I'm not popular this morning!  I did the usual Sunday morning weigh-in (on the border between 470kg and 478kg - now on 2 handfuls of Speedibeet, 1 handful of Greengold and 1 thin slice of hay twice a day), then groomed him, pulled a bit of mane, took two barrows of manure off the fields (should be caught up by the end of the week I hope), started re-shaping the muck heap and then decided it was too nice a day not to take him for a walk.

I've been thinking that it would be an idea to do some in-hand schooling to help build his back muscles up before getting a saddle fitted again, so after we'd walked down to the surgery end of the village, I tightened up the noseband on his headcollar, moved the lead rope to the left hand side and passed a lunge rein over his back to clip to the right side.  He was completely confused to start with because he's so used to following me around when he's being led that having me standing at his shoulder Did Not Compute, but with a bit of encouragement he took a step forwards, got lots of praise for it and after 30 seconds of hesitant walk with lots of glances back at me to make sure this was really what I wanted him to do, he decided that this was quite a fun game after all and walked out beautifully.

And the reason I'm not popular?  I walked him up to the road through two fields of beautiful fresh spring grass and wouldn't let him graze it ;o)  (Next door's sheep will be lambing on it in about 10 days' time!)

In other news, he nearly got a friend this week after I went to try a Highland pony.  She was everything I was looking for; a real confidence giver, but sadly someone else had deeper pockets.  It's a long time since I've felt that happy in the saddle though.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Going back down again

Hay is now down to 2 sections morning and evening, no horsehage and only 100g (unsoaked weight) of beet each feed.  Weight back down into the 478kg band.  It's been really windy here for the past few days, but he doesn't seem bothered - every time I've checked on him from the road as I've been driving to and from the post office, he's been in the bottom field grazing happily.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Spring is springing

Three signs that spring is definitely on its way:

1) he's putting on weight (firmly back into the 484 band after dipping onto the bottom of the 478 one)
2) he's occasionally leaving some of his morning hay
3) he's started moulting

Good thing I've just bought a Miele Cat & Dog hoover, the hair over the next 4-6 weeks is going to be horrible!