Costume Party!

Fastelavn is coming up! For those of you of an international disposition — this is the Scandinavian equivalent to Halloween except that the costumes don’t need to be scary or spooky. The custom dates back to Catholic times, and of course dressing up the ponies is traditional. I’ve collected costume pics horses all year, just for this.

As with other picture collections from the internet — if you’re the owner of one of these pics, please let me know, so I can give you proper credit and a link back to your site (or remove the picture, if that’s your preference).

This is technically not a costume but dressing up for a show. Still!
I mean, seriously. Showing Arabians like that. Wowzers.
This one I was actually planning to inflict on Pilar. I’m not saying that’s why she died. But you were thinking it.
You shall not passage!
Simple, except for the part where you convince the horse to put it on.
This one is great for a pale horse. Simple yet recognisable!
I want to do this to Emilie. Nothing says ballerina butterfly pony like an 800 kilos draft.
Heart melted. Officially dead.
Genial in all its simplicity.
I’d do this with Slytherin colours, obviously.
The garters are the nicest touch!
I love this one. Probably I was a rabid Kiss fan as a teenager.
I mean, seriously. Love.
That’s one big poodle you got there, li’l miss.
There’s something about miniature horses and costumes …
Seahorse? Geddit? Sea horse!
All I want to know is, Mary, how the heck did you get him to stand still while you glued all that fleece on?
Now officially creeped out and spooking like a volatile warmblood.
The day is officially saved. Now go swat that giant spider up there for me, please.

 

Ponies in the Mist

Ponies in the mist

The weather is being very strange of late. It’s considerably warmer than you’d expect for January, for one. And with all the rain and occasional snow we’ve been getting, the ground is really wet. Add heat to damp fields, and what you get is bizarre mistscapes as the moisture evaporates, blotting out the sun.

And horses being turned out in the morning to inspect the outdoors arena for the first time. It had grass so … Well, the husband was welcome to exercise himself but the girls were busy.

The world ends 200 metres down that hill. Sorry. Jutland no longer exists.
Emilie was very fascinated by the mistscapes.
I keep saying it. Cassie is grey. In theory.

Winter Mornings

Brrr.

The only two horses new enough to large pasture to bother going out into the white, cold nothing. Everyone else was smart enough to stay inside.
The only two horses new enough to large pasture to bother going out into the white, cold nothing. Everyone else was smart enough to stay inside.
Winter wonderland looks rather chilly.
Winter wonderland looks rather chilly.
Cassie thinks we need to let her out faster.
Cassie thinks we need to let her out faster.
Emilie, on the other hand, is open to negotiations if they involve treats.
Emilie, on the other hand, is open to negotiations if they involve treats.
No? Fine, I'll just eat the railing, then.
No? Fine, I’ll just eat the railing, then.

New Horizons!

Cassie and Emilie do the celebratory gallop all along the fence, with everyone else joining in on the fun.
Cassie and Emilie do the celebratory gallop all along the fence, with everyone else joining in on the fun.

I have wanted to move Emilie to a barn with more pasture for a while and now things have finally come into place. Her and her mate, Cassie, have moved to Vestfyns Rideklub on Funen where she will be sharing roughly 14 hectares, or 34 acres, of pasture with fifteen other horses and ponies.

Emilie and Cassie are both horses that require a lot of all-round exercise. Welsh Mountain ponies are inclined towards getting tubby, and Jutland Drafts tend to develop arthritis and leg problems if they stand still a lot. They don’t need to follow a sadistic fitness routine, but walking around at their own pace on enough land all day will have a large impact on their health regimen. Cassie has been struggling with her weight and Emilie needs to build up muscle mass after her vacation year after surgery. There’s enough grass that it’s worth plodding around to find, but not enough to influence their weight and diet much.

Wheeeeeeeee!
Wheeeeeeeee!

Mud has been a severe challenge in Denmark this winter. Even barns that usually don’t particularly struggle with wetness, have been literally swamped. I went to look at several farmsteads and barns closer to where we live than Vestfyns, and the one challenge they all faced? Mud. Horses standing in knee deep slush everywhere. Most farms are desperately trying to save their pastures from the extreme amount of moisture this winter, which means that the horses also get cooped up in smaller areas in order to not churn the fields into mud beyond repair.

This is how it went on the first day:

Draft horses such as Emilie, with their heavily feathered legs, are particularly prone to fungal infections due to dampness. We have managed to fend it off so far this winter with a healthy dosage of zink in her food, but finding a 14 ha pasture that’s decently dry (except the muddy area by the barn door) is fantastic. Having both indoors and outdoors arena, as well as good options for hacking out in the area, well, that turns it into a godsend.

Day Two Challenge: Luring ponies with carrots. It worked — more so on the barn’s oldest pony, Sally (29).
They heard us, and they are approaching, one mouthful of grass at a time.
They heard us, and they are approaching, one mouthful of grass at a time.
The pony is white. In theory.
The pony is white. In theory.
The pasture isn't bone dry -- nowhere is, with the warm, wet winter we've had. But the mud is not knee deep, there's still a bit of green, and of course Emilie managed to find somewhere to roll around until she's properly camouflaged.
The pasture isn’t bone dry — nowhere is, with the warm, wet winter we’ve had. But the mud is not knee deep, there’s still a bit of green, and of course Emilie managed to find somewhere to roll around until she’s properly camouflaged.
Both horses seem to integrate well into the new herd. Cassie leads, Emilie gets between her and anyone that looks vaguely grumpy.
Both horses seem to integrate well into the new herd. Cassie leads, Emilie gets between her and anyone that looks vaguely grumpy.
So much space.
So much space.
Sleep tight, girls.
Sleep tight, girls.

As a bonus twist of fate: Vestfyns Rideklub is where we used to board my Arabian, Kvik, and my mother’s Knapstrupper/Thoroughbred cross, Silverfox, back in the early 1990s. My longest lived cat (18 years!) was born there. It’s a bit like coming home.