Friday, April 26, 2013

Ride 21 & More Pictures of Evil Ragwort

Here are some more pictures of the evil Ragwort.


It's crazy something so pretty can be poisonous.  :(  So I'm taking my dad's four wheeler and my trusty Gorilla cart (wagon/wheelbarrow combo) out into the pasture and digging up these nasty things by the roots. I'm hoping if I dig them up and burn them (in the front yard) that not so many will come back each year.  I'm also thinking about asking my neighbors if I can spray their yard since they don't have livestock... those pictures I posted the other day, the yellow field of Ragwort behind Chrome is my neighbor's yard.  If you look closely you can see my fence.  There isn't a huge amount on my property, but it's still going to take a while it get it all dug up.  It's kind of fun driving the four wheeler all over the pasture looking for it though lol.

Pictures are from Wednesday's ride.  I didn't take the camera with me today.  I rode Chrome in the pasture instead of the front yard this time.  He was being kind of annoying because he kept trying to go up front.  I think he prefers being in the front yard because there's more activity and more stuff going on.  He lives in the pasture so he knows every inch of it and it's boring lol.

So I practiced circling and weaving in and out of trees, up and down the slope of the pasture (not very sloped at all, but there is a tiny bit), riding up and down the dirt pile hill and walking over fallen tree limbs.  It kept things pretty interesting, but if I got distracted even for a nanosecond he tried to veer back toward the front of the pasture.  Brat!  He was very easy to get back in the direction I wanted though so it's not that big of a deal.  He's just still so much a baby at times.

It was really interesting at one point I was riding him through kind of a narrow, dark (overhanging branches) spot and he sucked back behind my leg.  Up until that point I didn't even realize he was in front of my leg because he felt like he was walking kind of slow (I'm still learning his gaits).  When he sucked behind my leg his head went way up too.  He was eyeballing rocks and stumps like they were monsters.  It's so funny how sensitive he is when I'm riding.  When I'm leading him he doesn't spook or eyeball anything at all.  He's so confident!!  I guess I've been handwalking him so much that he just feels like he doesn't have back up anymore.  I guess he thinks of me as part of the herd which is why he doesn't neigh when I walk him on the roads.  When I'm on his back he feels like he's facing things alone.  He's not nervous or spooky though, just wary and hesitant.

So when he would suck back and start eyeballing things I just gave him a nudge (I did need the whip today because he was being kind of lazy, but I didn't have to use it a lot, he responded to a nudge and vocal cue well), told him to walk on and made sure he kept his head straight (he was trying to turn around, but wasn't really trying to spook/spin so that's good).  As soon as I got him going forward again he dropped his head and walked calmly through.  :D I think he's going to be an easy one to convince, even from his back.  I still think he's going to make a great trail horse!

I guess the really eye opening part of all of this is that it feels like I'm learning a whole new side of Chrome!!  I've had him since he was five months old (he's almost four now) and I thought I knew every aspect of his personality.  I'm loving learning about his personality while being ridden.  :)  He's still Chrome, just a little more hesitant and wary Chrome.  He still trusts me though and takes my word for things, so it's all good.

I rode for twenty minutes again.  Next week I'm going to increase our time to 25 or 30 minutes.  I did a couple of really short trots, but it was cooling off and the wind was up so we kept most everything to a walk.    Faran was being a dork, neighing and trotting (although it sounds like an elephant running) after us even though we were in the pasture with him.  Chrome did really well with that, but I didn't want to tempt him to take off or anything if Faran started running.  I'm probably overly-cautious, but better safe than sorry.  :)

I hope every one is getting some saddle time!  I'm loving being able to ride again!!  It's been a long wait, but it's so worth it!

Oh and I almost forgot, here is a picture of Chrome after his ride today.  :D  I put him in the round pen with some hay because the other two kind of boss him around and don't let him get his fair share.  That's my Gorilla cart by the way.  It raises up and dumps stuff out like a dump truck.  Totally awesome.  :)


  1. So it turned out to be ragwort, after all. Too bad--since it is so pretty.

    I'm glad you are having such great rides and learning a whole new side of Chrome.

  2. LOL - I'm going to put my park service hat... When we deal with invasive or harmful plants we make sure to bag them before transporting. If you transport them in an open vehicle, even if you are driving slowly it increases the chance of seeds blowing out and spreading the weeds... Okay, hat has been taken off!

    Chrome sounds a bit like Baron. Baron tends to like to hide behind his Mom (me) and when I ride him he doesn't have his safe zone. He is so different when our trainer rides him and I'm on another horse. long as I'm in front. If I fall behind he stops and waits for me to catch up. :D


  3. Good point about the seeds! I'll bag if next time.

    I love that Chrome and Baron have something in common hehe. :D

  4. We have ragwort problems over here too. It's actually illegal in this country to have it on your land but each year I see it on every verge, and sadly see many horses stood in fields of it. I have to go over my pasture every couple of weeks and dig out new plants. Make sure you get all the root or it just grows straight back from even the tiniest bit. Apparently the seeds can also lay dormant for a long time too. It is a total nuisance!

  5. Aww I remember you mentioning having to dig of ragwort, but I didn't know that was the same stuff I have lol. Sorry you have to deal with it too. It's funny though because my dad told me we've had it out there my entire life and it never hurt any of my horses I had growing up.... I'm still going to dig it up though lol!

  6. They will rarely touch it growing as its supposed to have a nasty taste, although have heard of horses with little other available pasture getting a taste for it. It's most dangerous dried in hay as it loses the bitterness and becomes palatable to them. I've found plants in hay before so I ask lots of questions before I buy bales now.

  7. Emma, that is one thing that concerns me! What does it look like when it's dried in the hay? I've been looking through and throwing out anything I don't recognize... I wonder if I can google it online...


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