Nearly a year since my last post. This Winter and Spring have been another stark reminder of how our weather patterns and seasons are changing. Having grown a thicker than usual winter coat it's been difficult for the pony to shed it naturally and consistently with temperatures in the high 'teens' during the day but going down to freezing and below with ground frosts and ice across some weeks in late March/early April. Considering the increasing hours of daylight has been happening since 21st December it's left him hot and sweaty and itchy. So I've been collecting an enormous bag of his more downy undercoat which hopefully will go to line some Spring nests somewhere. He's left with the longer finer outer winter coat (the waterproofing).
It's been interesting looking at the areas of the body that a horse sheds its coat from first. Legs and belly stay well insulated for longer, the head and chest seem to lose most first. I'm guessing the belly is to keep the gut warmer to produce heat through all the fibre digestion.
On our weekly hacks he's already spotted the shoots of cow parsley appearing. And all through the winter he's still been keen on the leaves of bramble we've come across.
Sycamore seedlings are in profusion this Spring again which is a worrying time for horse owners everywhere though the intricate science of determining which seedlings from some sycamores are more toxic than others is ongoing. I've been told some seedlings contain the toxins and others don't but more research will hopefully get to the bottom of this.