We are finally starting to see some nice fall colors in the trees. I am running about 2-3 weeks behind with my picture posting so this isn't really reflected in the pictures. The pastures are starting to really decline as well. We have a mix of warm and cool season grasses on the farm. The cool season grasses are still thriving, however the warm season bermuda grass has really been starting to take over the last couple of years, with some pastures being mostly warm season grass. The warm season grass is starting to go dormant. In some pastures it is already completely dormant and brown while in others it is a quickly fading green. I expect that within the next week or two all of the bermuda grass will be completely dormant until spring.
We have a love/hate relationship with warm season grass here, namely the bermuda. The great thing about it is you can't kill it, and it can handle drought conditions. Thus it really started to spread on the farm during the drought a couple of years ago. The bad thing about it is you can't kill it. During normal precipitation years our cool season grasses get good growth for all but about three to three and a half months per year, and growth slows to a crawl during that time. The bermuda grass goes completely dormant a full month before the cool season grasses slow their growth to a crawl, and does not exit dormancy until about a month after the cool season grasses have really hit their stride again. Thus we lose two months of good grazing everywhere there is bermuda grass. So while we were glad to have it around during the drought we would be happy for it to move on now, but that definitely is not going to happen.
Between the fading bermuda grass and the color in some of the leaves it is really looking like fall on the farm.
I'll end this post with one of my favorite horse quotes. I will admit I have a long and lengthy list of favorite horse quotes but I happened to see this one today. Anyone who has ever had a great ride on a horse can summon up a memory that would be perfectly described by this Arabian proverb: "The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears."
I summoned all of my creative resources (I have very few) and named this the "gray horse picture." Cuffie in the front, Harmony behind him, with Buffy and Lily in the back.
Snappy grazing with his new friends. Snappy has had quite an interesting life and travelled the world. He was born and bred in Poland, somehow discovered by the famous New Zealand eventer Mark Todd and evented through the 4 star level. He was sold to an eventer in the U.S. who crashed him at a cross country jump (rider error). After having tendon surgery on both front legs as a result of the crash he took up a new career as a show hunter where he was champion everywhere from the winter Florida circuit to Indoors. Although I rarely get to see it he has an amazing, huge and fluid gallop stride.
Asterik loves to roll! Asterik is a Holsteiner and was successful on the "A" circuit in both the hunters and the jumpers. He unfortunately was retired young due to a freak accident. He stepped on a nail at a horse show and it damaged the collateral ligament in his hoof.
A typical scene to start my morning: Mina and Jo, world's cutest fainting goats, waiting for me to let them out of their stall. The sub rooster (The Don is 'the' rooster) is often hanging out with them in the stall.
Sebastian and Faune grazing with a gorgeous blue sky behind them. Sebi is a Connemara/Irish Draught cross imported from Ireland. He foxhunted, showed on the A circuit in the hunters and jumpers, you could trail ride on him . . . he was one of those horses that you could have fun on and do everything with. Faune, the 'big French guy,' is a Selle Francais imported from France. He won everywhere in the hunters.
Leo is a Dutch Warmblood whose greatest dream in life is to be a hard keeper and to be fed lots and lots of food! He is Mr. Personality and a fun guy to be around every day. Leo showed successfully on the A circuit in the hunters, and prior to his hunter career he showed through 4th level in dressage.
Ivan is a Thoroughbred and retired Grand Prix jumper. Ivan is a mischievous guy and way too smart for his own good. He is an expert at opening stall doors and gates and taking himself on self guided tours of the farm. We have to "Ivan proof" everything.
Clay is a Quarter Horse whose original career was as a race horse. He then became a trail horse. I can absolutely see Clay as a bomb proof trail horse that you could take on the hard trails where you wouldn't want to be riding just any horse. I have to admit I just cannot picture him as a race horse. I've tried. Nothing about Clay says 'speed' to me, especially his personality. When I try to envision Clay as a race horse I hear the buzzer going off and see the gates flying open . . . and I see Clay just standing there taking it all in. I am told he actually had a fairly successful career on the track! Clay is 30 years young and I tell him every day how handsome and spry he looks.