Tuesday was our first day starting our new rotational grazing program. We've been taking the horses out of the new Home Pasture and putting them in temporary electric paddocks during the day to lessen the impact of having all four animals grazing the Home Pasture.
We were supposed to be able to open the double gate at the bottom of the Home Pasture and have it connect to the double gate of the Lower Pasture, thus allowing the animals to pass through a chute between the fields. But nobody has the 12' mesh gate we need, so the Home Pasture has been closed off with a cattle panel wired across half the gate.
However, we did not want to over-graze our new pasture, so once Herb set up an electric paddock in the Lower Pasture, we decided to move the animals the hard way without the gate/chute. First we got them all up in the barnyard (see the brown building at the top of the hill in the photo above). That part of our system works fine. We put lead ropes on both horses and Siobhan. Herb took the horses, and I took Siobhan, trusting that Sara would follow her calf. (NO one is getting a halter on Sara!)
We opened the gates from the barnyard into the Home Pasture and headed down the hill. The grass was wet and slippery from rain the night before, and the bottom half of the Home Pasture is very steep. (You can see how steep the hill is in the photo above; to the right of the long white barn, it drops sharply down.) Everything went fine until Sara, who had been hanging way back, suddenly decided to catch up--galloping and bucking her way down the hill like a calf! That got everyone excited, and there were a few tricky moments on the slippery hill, but we made it safely down, and Sara followed us into the Lower Pasture although she continued to lag far behind, "just like the old cow's tail."
At that point we looked around, amazed that the horses had not come running to take advantage of the wide open gate to escape into the pasture. There they were in the back corner of the paddock (see above), grazing peacefully while little Zephyr stood guard in front of them, holding them where they were. Neither one of us had given her a command--we wouldn't know how and we were way too busy with cows and wires and Hero! But our faithful little Sheltie figured out what needed to be done and did it.
We were pleased with ourselves, too! It was quite a feeling of accomplishment, once all the excitement was over, to see the animals grazing happily on new grass.