Remi napping with herd.
March has been a snowy month for us, but we are grateful for the moisture that will ease us out of drought conditions and help green up our pastures. It will be the end of May before the grass is tall enough to turn the horses out to graze. In the dry, high-desert climate we have here in the southern Rockies, the new grass is very fragile, and we wait until the short grass has seed heads before any grazing begins. 

In a good year (abundant moisture and deep snowpack), we can only graze the horses for about three months before the grass is overwhelmed. I call it “recreational grazing,” since there’s not enough grass to serve as their sole source of roughage.

Julie grooming Abner with HandsOn GlovesWe are eagerly awaiting shedding season, so we can slough those ratty winter coats and reveal the sleek, shiny dapples underneath. This time of year it appears the horses are starting to shed, but it’s a false alarm because their coats are so dense that as the dead hair falls out (which happens year-round), it seems like a lot of hair. But the real shedding won’t start for some weeks yet and then the hair comes out by the handful. 

That’s what I am waiting for! This is when I truly love my HandsOn Grooming Gloves, and the horses love them too. (We call it, “Gimme Some Glovin’.” My crew and I actually wrote a song about it to the tune of, you guessed it, “Gimme Me Some Lovin’.”😉)

The little squirt, Remington, is not so little anymore—and not so innocent. On April 1st, the Clydesdale colt will be 6 months old, and he is already bigger than my little QH mare, Annie. He’s full of piss and vinegar, loves rough-housing with the older geldings, and can learn bad habits faster than you can say, “No!” But the good news is that he is smart, willing and calm. 

I haven’t been around many draft babies, but I suspect his good attitude is a common trait in the breed. The mare is super kind too, and I can see why people love draft horses so much (unless, perhaps, you are the one paying the feed bill, or on the business end of a scoop shovel!).

Remi and Dodger horsing aroundThis month brought the big “W-Day” for Remi and Big Momma. Weaning a mare and foal can be challenging, but in this case, we made short work of it. For weeks leading up to the cold-turkey weaning, we increasingly separated the mare and colt, turning him out with the other geldings while Big Momma enjoyed eating some particularly nice hay in solitude. They fussed and worried a bit, but as time went on we saw less and less concern. 

Then, in an orchestrated effort, we simultaneously walked Remi out to turnout with his uncles (as normal), while we walked Big Momma right into the ranch’s trailer where her BFF from the ranch was waiting for her, and off they went. Outta sight, outta mind.

Big Momma, aka Joy, was reunited with the herd at the C Lazy U Ranch, where she will resume her career as a trail horse at the premier guest ranch this summer. Meanwhile, back at my ranch, Remi will hang out a little longer. We will focus over the next couple months on getting his lead line manners and handling manners up to par. We will have him gelded, make sure he is fully healed, and give him time to grow up and become independent. Sometime this summer, Remington will return to the C Lazy U for good. They will bond him to some younger geldings before turning him out with the herd of nearly 200 head. Eventually, he will grow up to be one of the favorite riding horses at the ranch, and it will always be fun for me to see him when I visit there.

Meanwhile, our other horses, Annie, Pepperoni and Casper, are all fat, happy and healthy. Now that we can ride outdoors more, we will step up their conditioning in preparation for the upcoming riding season.

While we have not yet made concrete plans for the summer, we hope to enjoy some camping trips with the horses, maybe hit a few clinics, and hopefully Rich will participate in some mounted shooting. The time to plan is now! The summer will be here before we know it, and unless we plan ahead, all our good intentions will remain just that.

What are your summer plans for you and your horse? Venture into new territory? Take some trips with friends? Trail rides? Competition? Clinics? So much to do and so little time! If you’ve got some fun plans in the works, I’d love to hear about them! You can share it on my Horse Goals or Bust Facebook group and help motivate others.

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