Gwen's been more anxious than usual for the past week. She was being extra crazy in her stall, pacing and screaming when any horse was taken out of the barn- not just her brother. I was having to hose her off every day because she was working herself into a sweaty mess. I was at a complete loss trying to figure out what was upsetting her. I finally got a clue when I turned them out Saturday night and noticed Gwen was pacing the fenceline before I had even gotten back into my car. Not wanting to leave her out where she could hurt herself on the fence, I just grabbed them and put them back in the barn for the night.
Sunday night I tried to put them out for a few hours since they didn't stay out Saturday. Only this time I hung out in the pasture for a while to see what would happen. I noticed a couple of things, 1) the weed to grass ratio was 100:1 and 2) Gwen would walk around and try to find something to eat, grab something up, chew a bit, spit it out and go back to pacing. She did this multiple times. Lightbulb!
Here's the lesson: Rotating pastures are a good idea to ensure that your horses will have grass to eat for most of the year, but it only works if you mow it and keep the weeds from killing all of the grass.
Gwen was trying to tell me that there wasn't anything left in that pasture to eat and she was ticked off that I'd put her in there to starve. When I put her out, she'd pace the fence with her head in the air, pumping adrenaline through her system all night long which would carry over into the day. It seems totally obvious now what her issue was.
But this leaves me in a tough position, I can't put them in the other pasture until Wednesday night and I can't turn them out in the pasture they're slated for right now or Gwen will freak. So now my horses have been stuck in the barn for a few days. I'm not happy. The best I can do right now is hand graze them on the lawn for an hour every night. It's not nearly enough but it will have to do.
When I get my own pasture I'm going to be a mowing fiend!