This is the coolest, wettest spring on the island I've yet experienced, with such strong, cold winds that we are still making a daily fire in our wood stove to chase the damp chill out of the house.
The green kingdom is seemingly oblivious to the cold for Ravenseyrie is busting out in voluptuous verdancy of the type that catches in your throat like some strong romantic emotion...such a vivifying thing after the stark monochromatic dormancy of winter!
As mentioned in my last entry, the cold winds have kept the biting insects hiding out in the forest, and the horses can take long and luxurious reclining naps, graze unmolested, engage in sessions of mutual grooming and enjoy playful games.
I've taken some photos over the past few days which I thought readers of this journal might like to see, along with a short video clip. The herd remains split, with the domestic horses (Zeus and Mistral) on a distant parameter and the draft mules (Dee, Doll and Jerry) mostly also banished, but with occasional "floaters' rights" wherein they can pass close by the primitive band without repercussions from Altamiro. During the time I took these photos, the non-primitive herd members were occupied in other sectors of the property. It used to be that hanging out with the herd meant I had opportunity to visit with everyone...now if I want to visit any of the "banished ones", I have to typically head in the opposite direction from where Altamiro and his band is. This will provide me with new challenges, and new opportunities...right now, I'll admit that this separation of the herd leaves me feeling spread a bit too thin.
So, then, onto the pictures!
Ciente (left) and Zorita are dreaming away a good portion of their morning. I wonder what scenes play out behind their closed eyelids?
Fada is hoping that she can interest Interessado in a mutual grooming session like that which Ciente and Animado are engaged in, but she wasn't able to get him to give up the good patch of grazing he was well absorbed in. She had better luck with him a bit earlier as you can see from this photo:
Time for games:
Fada and I had just finished an itch session and she decided that she wanted to play with my fly whisk:
But seeing that some games were beginning, Animado came over and decided he needed to show Fada just how to fuddle with Lynne's fly whisk (he's a pro, as you can see):
Soon, it wasn't enough for Animado to be playing with my fly whisk, he wanted my shawl too, so, of course, I gave it to him:
Then, I decided to put the camera into "movie" mode and get some digital video. Zorita by then was feeling left out and came over to investigate (as only Zorita can do, by first being snarky!) She lost interest almost immediately and Animado and I were able to pick up where we left off.
In one sense these games appear to be just idle silly-ness, and yet, these sorts of interactions get the youngsters familiar with the sensations of things on their heads and backs, all in a stress free way. So far, there have only been a scant few opportunities for me to do any "formal" schooling in my "woodland manège", (twice with Mistral, once with Altamiro and also once with Zorita), but for getting young horses accustomed to ground handling, its been my experience that many things can be accomplished right out among the entire group. When the weather turns warmer and it is too hot and buggy to be out in the sun, these guys will be taking to the shade of the forest. My manège is located right in one of their favorite shady realms and I expect there will be many opportunities to invite a yearling inside for a true "one on one" where there will be no interference from the curiosity of those standing outside the rustic fence. Hopefully, I'll have the camera handy every now and then when that time comes, although many times I don't take the camera because while I like to share these moments with others, stopping to try to take photos sometimes is as much a disruption of things as having Zorita burst upon the scene.
To end today's journal entry, I'm putting in two photos of Animado...he's grown so much in one year I sometimes cannot pick him out right away from a distance. When I get closer, its easy of course. In this photo his rear-end has once again grown taller than his front end. In another few weeks it will be the reverse and his withers will be higher than his croup. I've no doubt when all is said and done, he will be a beautifully shaped, uphill horse, like his ancestors.
Look he is now nearly the same size as his mother, Bella!...and he has the wonderful convex profile of his father, Altamiro, as do each of Altamiro's kids.