Kachina is out in the pasture for the summer. I love that she has room to move and graze and be a horse. Her pasture summers always help her balance at the canter when she can experiment with moving out by herself. Her feet have also improved hugely since going out to pasture (the spring mud and manure in the pens was making her feet thrushy). So, overall pasture = good, however, there are a few hazards in the pasture that I worry Kachina will get into trouble with. The first is barbed wire, the fencing is well maintained, and I can't really expect a pasture that big to have anything else, but I've seen a few bad barbed wire injuries in horses so it's still on my mind. Second is junk, the pasture is mostly clear, but there is one pile of wooden pallets and a couple tractor attachments that are out there. Third is the texas gate/cattle grate, there's a normal swing gate over it that is normally closed, and there's a horse gate to go in and out beside it, but there's still half of the texas gate inside the pasture. Kachina has never given me any reason to worry about any of the above hazards before. She's generally a sensible horse, has sensible pasture-mates who won't chase her into anything, and the pasture is massive so the horses really have no reason to get close to the areas that might give them trouble (no need to reach through fences for grass etc.). I go out to check on Kachina more regularly in the summer just in case, but I've slowly stopped worrying so much.
|Texas gate/truck gate on left, horse gate on right|
Well, yesterday, Kachina was more focused on her herd-mates than on me while I was leading her out through the horse gate and she unexpectedly turned and walked right onto the texas gate! I had terrible visions flashing through my head of broken legs or injured tendons as her feet wobbled on top of the round bars. I was half frozen with terror but I managed to get her to quietly back off of it without incident. Underneath my breath I was swearing up a storm and then heaved a giant sigh of relief when all four feet were back on solid ground. I don't know if Kachina was as freaked out as me but she walked calmly and soundly beside me as we made our way to the hitching post.
|Despite the weeds, it's still deep enough to do some damage|
A new horse was recently added to the pasture herd, she was out with Kachina last year so I know they get on, but I think the change in herd dynamic was what distracted Kachina and she thought maybe she didn't need to follow me as a leader anymore. I spent a good amount of time doing ground work and lunging Kachina that day to remind her that she's still required to pay attention to the human. We've successfully walked through the horse gate without incident many times before, and we'll do it successfully again many times in the future, but I'm going to be even more careful now and not trust that Kachina will always behave sensibly. I still shudder to think what would have happened if one of her feet had slipped through. We got off lucky and I'm supremely grateful!