Saturday, June 30, 2012

To Mow or Not To Mow


This is a subject that Mike and I have argued about since moving to this property almost 7 years ago.  Mike would like to see high pasture, belly deep on the horses.  For some reason, he thinks that is optimal.  I disagree, quite strongly in fact, and I'll give my points of view below.


I like the way it LOOKS!   My formers neighbors used to use the terms "pristine".   Coming from them (and knowing them) it sounded ridiculous to me, but looking at the pictures below, I have to admit that the pasture does indeed, look pristine!

It looks awesome, right?  But below are pictures of how it would look if I didn't mow.

I think the second pasture looks messy and unkept, but then again, perhaps I AM a bit of a "pasture snob".  There are other reason why I choose to mow.


It's a well known fact that horses won't graze where they poop or pee, if alternatives are available.  As such, those ungrazed portions get overgrown.  Also, horses prefer the newest, sweetest, most tender shoots of grass.  Over about four inches, they tend to ignore the grass and look for the choicest morsels, which was where they grazed before.  Unless the manure is spread or picked up, and the tall areas mowed, you will get a pasture that looks like the pictures above.  Short spots and high spots.


Mowing the high spots reduces the areas of cover for unwanted critters such as mice and bugs.  Gnats and mosquitos will "roost" in the long blades of grass, swarming when disturbed.  Less mice means, well, less mice, and I'm ok with that.


Mowing creates munch, which supports root development and holds moisture in the ground, as opposed to on the blades of grass.  We live in an area with a lot of coarse sand, so helping the ground hold moisture is a definite plus for us.


When moisture is held on the long blades of grass, a horse walking through it is at risk of developing scratches

By keeping the grass short, the risk is prevented.  Every year, about this time, I hear of local horses developing this problem.  In the almost seven years that we have lived at this property, I have NEVER had a single case.


By mowing, I have the opportunity to look at the pasture, in small pieces, to determine the general condition of the pasture.  I can see when clover is becoming a problem and spray to prevent it.  I can see dry spots and adjust the sprinklers accordingly.  I can see where the topsoil has become compacted and we need to plug and fertilize.

One of my former neighbors thought that throwing down seed and letting the grass sprout was enough.  It is NOT!  There is so much more to maintaining a healthy pasture.

So, I mow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Texas Chilis

In the middle of June 2010, I got an e-mail from a representative from The Exceller Fund, asking if I could foster one of their geldings.  He had turned up in a “rescue” near Yakima, at a place called Avalon Mist Equine Rescue, and was deemed unrideable (thus unadoptable) by the owner of the rescue.  They weren’t set up financially to handle permanent residents and would The Exceller Fund be willing to help out either by sponsoring him at their facility or offering him retirement elsewhere. The gelding is a grandson of Exceller.   

The Exceller Fund preferred to not sponsor him at their facility. With most of their retirement facilities in the mid-west and east, the Exceller Fund felt it was most cost effective to find a local facility to care for the horse.  After asking around and having me referred to them, they contacted me, asking if I could retrieve the gelding and foster him.  I said “Yes”.  After working for two weeks to set up a date and time to pick up the gelding, I drove to Yakima to pick up Texas Chili.  Over the past two years, I have posted multiple times about him.

Then last week, I was cleaning out the Spam comments on my blog and noticed that there was a comment that needed moderation.

Anonymous said...

Is this really Texas Chili or is yours?

My first thought was “REALLY!  Hmmm…”  I checked out the ad, which said.

English Riders ~ 17 hand Thoroughbred - $1000 (Davenport)

Date: 2012-06-17, 7:32AM PDT
Reply to: removed

Derby is a big, 17h OTTB.
Registered name is Texas Chili.
He is broke to death and would make an awesome dressage/jumper.
Really smooth canter and long trot. Would make an awesome project as he learns quick.
**He is not a trail horse**
I ride him in a snaffle bit, he responds well to leg pressure.
NO BUCK, BITE, OR KICK in this guy!
He could even be a good therapy/kids horse.
Good with other horses, he comes up to you in the pasture.
Comes with his halter. UTD on all his shots, worming, hoof care.
Stands for farrier, ties, loads, leads, loves being groomed.

I copied the comment and forwarded it to The Exceller Fund, leaving any action up to them.  My contacts asked me to check Chili’s tattoo, take pictures of it and his forehead, and forward it to them, which I did.  In the meantime, The Exceller Fund contacted the gal in Spokane, who was selling the OTHER Texas Chili, to get information.

After doing a search of The Jockey Club records for the series of the tattoo that was readable, The Exceller Fund is confident that the REAL Texas Chili is truly at my place.  However, since the letter of his tattoo is unreadable, it’s hard to tell 100%.  The main thing that throws some question into the mix, is there is another gelding registered with the same numbers, but a different letter.  There is a six year age difference between the two possibilities.  So I included a photo of Chili’s teeth, in case they want to take it to a vet and have him/her estimate the age of the horse via his teeth.  As of this writing, I have not received any feedback on this part.

In the meantime, a contact with The Exceller Fund contacted the woman in the Craigslist ad to ask some questions and get more information.  This is where it gets interesting.  PLEASE – bear in mind that this woman meant no misrepresentation and was only posting information as she knew it to be true and is not suspected of any wrong-doing.

As it turns out, the woman in Spokane purchased the horse from the same “rescue” that Chili came from a couple years ago.  The rescue, however, called the horse Derby Day Hope and has multiple photos on their home page here.  (Bear in mind that the website contains old information.  Two years later, Texas Chili is still listed under the “Adoption” tab on the left.)  The woman in Spokane has always called the horse by the barn name “Derby”.  She admits to being unknowledgeable about Thoroughbreds, tattoos, etc and for whatever reason, thought that she remembered the owner of Avalon Mist telling her that her horse’s registered name was Texas Chili.  Since her horse, “Derby” came without papers, and she wasn’t aware of the lip tattoo, she never thought to question the horse’s identity.  However, based on the white on the left hind fetlock, her horse absolutely can NOT be the REAL Texas Chili.  She has since sold the horse.

The Exceller Fund is still trying to contact someone with Avalon Mist Equine Rescue to find out more information about how this situation could have come about.  They are operating on the assumption that the confusion is the result of not being familiar with the Thoroughbred “world”, and an inadvertent understanding of wrong information. It is possible, since the time frame is pretty close, that the woman in Spokane actually looked at both horses at Avalon Mist.  Exactly HOW the woman in Spokane came to believe that her horse’s registered name was Texas Chili is unclear and clouded by time.  The point being, The Exceller Fund does NOT believe that the owner of Avalon Mist intentionally misrepresented one horse as being another, which would be fraud.

So where does that leave us?  The horse in Spokane is NOT Texas Chili.  We know that.  The Exceller Fund is confident that the REAL Texas Chili is living the life of leisure at my place in Pasco, and until evidence surfaces to the contrary, we are maintaining that position.

No one is pointing fingers or making allegations of wrong doing.  We just wanted to make sure we had all the facts and were clear about who is who.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I have the REAL Texas Chili.  Details still coming in, along with all the juicy details.  BUT I will will post the whole story plus pictures soon.  Information I put here needs to be cleared by The Exceller Fund, who owns the horse.  (This could TOTALLY be Fugly Fodder!!!)

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Bright Eyes Angel

Caddis Cool Dorado

Texas Chili

Leos Jazzy Music

(Meximelt, Naners, ShortShit, ChunkButt)

 This is the extent of the excitement. One pitiful little buck!

 OOOh yeah... she's a fireball!

Roger B Rabbit