Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Today is January 20, 2016 and I have not written in almost 2 years.  I sort of forgot that I had a blog.  Lots has happened to keep me busy.

I published my book, Medicine Hat Horse.  I am attempting to market it.
I got knocked down by a horse and have been dealing with ruptured discs and a pinched nerve for more than 1 1/2 years.  I had a few falls on the ice which didn't help the back.

Bill and I had a few vacations that were fun and way too short.  We went to Florida, Arizona, Texas, Vegas, North Carolina, and probably a few I forgot.  Many of those were an opportunity for Bill to drive a race car of one kind or another, combined with something I was interested in.
I went to Italy for 2 weeks without Bill, but with 3 other teachers, 2 retired as I am, and one not.  That trip was way too long.  A few things pop into mind:  first, I am so thankful for ice in my drinks, and second I am more thankful for toilet seats.  I have no desire to go back to Europe at all.  I will never travel with "friends" again.

Horses have been a priority in the last 2 years.  Sage died without warning and I have been desperately trying to get another horse that is as good as she was.  Of the 5 remaining horses, Sunshine comes the closest but has problems.  I am still mourning Sage 2 years later.  The pony, Snuggles, died a horrible death in early winter of 2015.  He had colic and we didn't find him until it was too late.  He suffered terribly and I feel so bad that we didn't know and couldn't do anything to help him.  It was a Sunday morning and our vet was on vacation and I called probably 7 more before I found one that was willing to come out for $150.00 cash.  But Snuggles died before he could get here.

I wrote about Sage's death in a poem I will add here. I still cry for her.

It was obvious to me that Sage's aura was gone when I found her.
Her life force was absent.
Her soul had fled her body.

Did her aura leave after death?
Did the disapprearance of her aura cause her death?
Where did it go?

ShyAnne nuzzled Sage's muzzle and then nuzzled my face.
Several times she went back and forth from Sage's prone body to me.
searching for her mother's breath, her aura,
sharing horse grief with human grief
communicating her loss to me,
absorbing my loss into her gentle touch.

Starbuck called all night in the light of the full moon,
soulful, sorrowful cries for his mother who lost her aura.
He did not understand where she had gone.

There is an aura around the moon tonight
Maybe that is where sage's has gone.
Dogs have also been a priority this last year.  Molly was diagnosed with Blastomycosis, an often fatal fungal infection that effects the lungs.  She started with what we thought was bronchitis, then her right eye swelled to the size of a tennis ball.  Through the course of treatement we ended up going to an eye specialist who diagnosed her with Blasto and thousands of dollars later, she has tested negative.  She has been on lots of medication and has gone blind in the right eye and deaf in the right ear.  She is very crabby.

Before I knew what was happening with Molly,  I brought home a puppy, poodle mixed with Cavalier King Charles, who has been a delight and is very funny.  She has just started beginners obedience and so far is the best dog in the class.  She's (Sophie is her name) very smart, very joyful, very entertaining.  Just what we needed after a summer of NON-summer in which it rained until July and then the mosquitoes came out and made life outside impossible. That summer when we finally baled our hay in AUGUST, was followed by a couple weeks of delightful fall before we got 15 inches of snow in November.

 Then on Christmas day Snowbaby got kicked in the butt by a horse and was paralized.  Being Christmas day I didn't even call a vet and then ended up taking her to the emergency place in Crystal Lake.  They did tests and diagnosed her as "nothing else to do for her" without hundreds, no thousands of dollars or tests and surgery.  Snowbaby is 12 years old.  So we took her home to have her put down the next day by her own vet.  She surprised us by dragging herself to the bottom of the stairs to go outside and pee the next morning.  She didn't like those puppy pads and ended up peeing all over herself, but she was alive and wanted to stay that way.  She had been over medicated and could not get up if she had to.  Once I cut back on the meds, she started to come to life.  She only needed puppy pads one day and insisted on going outside after that.  Today, almost a month later, she is running and acting like her normal self.  She wobbles, but it takes time for the swelling to go down.  I called Eileen, my friend who is paralized, in Georgia.  Eileen has spent most of ther adult life working with other paralized people and told me about something called the cauda equina, which is a glob of nerves at the tailbone.  If that is what was kicked it would heal and Eileen gave me the first hope of any recovery for Snowbaby.  Eileen was right and Snowbaby is recovering and happy to be running around again.

2015 was an emotional roller coaster and I don't want another year like that any time soon.  I guess the only good thing was that I did a lot of writing, about horses, dogs, Italy.  I will include those some other day, when I also talk about what happened with my back problems............................

OK now I'm pissed I just wrote a long session on the last year and it is nowhere.  Crap on that.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Peaceful ride

Today the weather was just about perfect, which is unusual for northern Illinois this year considering it snowed on Monday and rained Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and was colder than normal, 40 degrees in mid-May.  But today it was 75 degrees and a lite breeze with total sunshine and a few wispy clouds.  After going to Garfield Farm for a lame "rare" animal expo with my riding friend, Debbie, I came home and walked the dogs and mowed some grass.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I fell asleep before dinner because I didn't sleep well last night and then after dinner went out to the barn.

I can't explain the inner quiet and peacefulness that I found with Shyanne this evening.  She was glad to see me and very relaxed as I groomed her. She let out a  big sigh, cocked on hind leg, and just stood there looking happy.  There was a twinkle in her eyes and she just seemed to send out good vibrations, to quote the Beach Boys.  I really love this animal and I believe she loves me.  I just wanted to stay there and have that feeling forever.  I just don't have the right words but its like some of John Denver's songs and the mood they put me in and I want to keep that.  I know that's impossible.  I saddled up Shyanne and we took a short ride around the property lines on the path I mow in among the trees I planted.  It is almost magical at times that I feel so connected to this particular horse.  And being in a forest that was planted by myself adds to the mystery and magic of the moment. It was so quiet and we could hear birds singing all around us.  A few red wing black birds buzzed us to let us know we were too close to their nests.  Shyanne is very tall and my head, I'm sure, was near the nests.  One of these protective mother birds scared Shyanne and then her mood changed a bit.  She was suspicious of the tree tops.

Shyanne loves to eat clover from the hay field when we ride out back and I spoil her by letting her have some.  She drops a lot of it because of the bit in her mouth, but it amazes me that she never drops her carrots when I give her one.  So she gets a mouth full of lush green clover and we move on.  For a big beautiful horse, she can't run worth a crap.  She has navicular disease in her front feet and I'm sure partially foundered at one point, but even before that she grew so fast, so fat, and on such tiny feet that she always ran sort of sideways.  Its like she misfires.  I don't think she ever learned how to run properly, which I think is strange for a horse.  In 18 years it has been only a few times that I have seen her run like the other horses.  She just doesn't seem to know what to do with her feet.  But that's OK.  She has a wonderful walk.

Sometimes when I feel like this I get tears in my eyes.  I am so blessed to have this peace and I never know for sure when or if it will present itself again, so I guess the tears are out of sadness and longing for more. The majority of times in my life that I have felt this sensation has been when I am with horses.  I totally feel that God is at work in me at these time.  He is also at work in Shyanne.

I savor these moments, especially this year when it seems that the world is falling apart.  The horrible winter and Bill's heart attack have weighed heavily on me.  I am thankful I have these moments.

Friday, May 9, 2014

gifts from kittens - all about cats

Magoo, Wendy and Chipmonk are three kittens I rescued from the barn last fall.  We had an epidemic of some sort of virus that wiped out almost all the kittens and a few adults and I decided I would save these three who were born late.  Its a good thing I brought them in because this last winter was a doozy.

They were the tamest of all the kittens we have ever brought in and won our hearts almost immediately.  Magoo, the only boy, is like a rag doll in my hands; very laid back and not concerned about people.  On Christmas with 20 some people in the house he laid right on the couch where he always lays and someone was actually sitting on him.  He never moved or tried to claw any one.

Magoo and Wendy are gray with some tiger effects around the face and paws.  Their fur is very soft, silky, and medium length.  They have tails that make them look like squirrels, all bushy and longer hair.  They learned our routines early and spent the first few months living in the downstairs bathroom until they could understand and cope with dogs.  Then for a while they went back into the bathroom just for the night.  They learned to come very quickly for a little canned food and have been very easy to train for some other things.  They watch Bill when he goes down to get ice cream out of the freezer because he always gives them some.
They picked up on going in and out of the patio screen door by watching one of the older cats and now they are in and out whenever the door is open.  An older cat, Snoopy, created a self-made cat door in the patio door by tearing a hole in the screen just big enough for her to go through.  Now several cats use it.  Looks like crap, but is very efficient.

Anyway, recently I have been treated to some lovely gifts deposited in the bathroom, right in front of the toilet.  It started with a small mouse chewed in half.  Then I got a bird (dead) and then another mouse.  I don't know who is bringing these wonders, but I suspect Magoo.  He loves me so much.  He jumps on my neck and then flops over like he's been trained to play dead and he purrs and purrs and cuddles me.  He never uses his claws and the look on his face is pure adoration.  He is the sweetest cat I have ever known and I've had a lot.

Can't wait to see what I get next.  About twenty years ago I got the most terrifying cat gift ever:  the head of a rabbit, sitting on the deck, looking at me.  It was left in the morning and it was quite a shock.  I hope I don't see that again.  And I hope whoever is bringing these gifts makes sure they are dead first.  Many years ago, on Highland Ave, Elgin, a mama cat brought a live bass fish from the lake behind us.  It was for her kittens but we wouldn't let her bring it in the house.  She was very frustrated with my husband and me.

Love my cats.  Right now there are 12 in the house (and out), 6 living on the deck in kitty condos, 15+ in the first barn, and 15+ in the second barn.  They travel from barn to barn so a few might have been counted twice.  All total close to 50 cats.  And a few of the neighbor's cats that come for breakfast or just to check things out.  Most of these cats are fixed thanks to the TNR program through McHenry county. (TNR = TRAP, NEUTER, RELEASE). I've taken in eight so far this spring to be neutered.  One mama had her babies on the cold ground the last day it snowed in April.  She just walked away and let them die. She got fixed the next week.  But there are always a couple mamas we just can't catch and then we end up with more kittens.

 There are a couple mamas in the second barn.  one is so stupid she lets her babies die.(a different dumb one from the previously mentioned cat)  But right now one has two very fat babies; one black with stripes, one white with gray tipped ears, tail and paws.  There used to be Himalayan cats and Rag Doll cats in the neighborhood with those characteristics, but it's been a few years since we've seen a kitten with those markings.  Last week one of them fell out of the hay mow and Bill went up and got the other.  We made them a little home with hay bales and we are able to handle them every day to tame them.  Mama is wild.

We feed these cats dry food.  It costs a lot, but I try to get it on sale and buy 10 - 20 bags at a time.   It also costs $35 to get each one fixed through TNR.  It is worth it; they get fixed, shots - both rabies and distemper, and ears cleaned and treated for mites.  It is quite an undertaking and a good deal for me with all these cats.  Otherwise it is hundreds at the vet's office for one cat.  And, much to my dismay, I have 13 litter boxes in the house. That is the part I hate the most.  I also hate that the barn cats use the barn floor for litter boxes and I have walked in it more than once.  Yuck.  They like to go by the doors right where we walk.  I have to scoop it out with a shovel periodically.  I hate cleaning litter.  I'd rather shovel horse poop any day.
I also spoil my inside and deck cats with canned food.  The first barn group gets 1 can in the morning divided between all 15 of them.  The house cats fare a little better; they get a large can and a small can between all dozen.  I figure they get the equivalent of a small mouse in canned food.  If they want more they can go hunt for their own.

I have lots of cat stories.  Another time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Perfect Day

Today was almost perfect.  The weather cooperated for a change; it was around 60 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon, overcast, a breeze, comfortable.I had nothing I HAD to do. I woke up naturally and was greeted by my dogs as if I were the queen.  I had eggs and toast and tea for breakfast, my standard fare, and fed all the cats and dogs.  I watched a little TV, to get my news and to see the funny video of the day.

My plans for the day were to walk the dogs, ride a horse and call the vet.  All plans went according to schedule.  Before I walked the dogs, I cleaned the house (mostly just vacuumed and washed the floors), did a couple loads of laundry, ran the dishwasher and generally picked up stuff that was left here and there.

I was happy getting that done!  Then I walked the dogs around the property line where we usually walked. Its about 3/4 of a mile and takes me 25 - 30 minutes.   It was nice and quiet, tractors in the background while the farmers are getting all their crops in before it rains.  The freshly turned soil always smells so good, so earthy, so full of life.  When I walk I say The Lord's Prayer and then I either ask blessings for family and friends, or give thanks for all God has provided.  It is a habit I miss when I can't go.  I stop and pet the dogs every now and then, especially Joe and Repo.  Sometimes they just want me to touch them and off they go smelling all kinds of wonderful things I can't even imagine.  All six dogs stay relatively close to me;  they have to see me or they come looking.  Jumper always follows me within a few feet, quiet and loyal and just there.  It is comforting to see her following.

On my way back I pick a huge handful of clover for the horses.  Not much to them, but they like it.

Back at the house, the dogs go into respective pens:  the boys outside in a large run, the girls in the house in the utility room. The vet arrives and we go look at the horses.  I have to get Coggins tests on two of them, the two I am trying to sell.  I have mixed feelings about that.  I have had these sisters since they were babies and they are like overgrown dogs to me.  However, my physical being is not allowing me to do what I used to do and I haven't had time to give them proper riding time.  Big Red Sky was being ridden by a trainer a few years back and we even went to an event to raise money for breast cancer.  But Sky and I don't see eye to eye.  I basically avoid riding her.  I do ride her sister, Shawnee, but Shawnee has a tendency to go lame because she paws the ground and she is laid up a lot so her training has not progressed the way I wanted it to.  Last year I was so tired I decided I should find homes for them and give them something productive to do.  In order to sell them they must have this Coggins test, which requires drawing blood.  I really don't want to sell them, but I feel I need to.  I don't think I will ever get them into the condition they aught to be.  I put all my energy into Sunshine, that is what energy I can muster.

Sunshine is covered with hives right now.I have no idea why and that's another reason I had the vet out.  He thinks its some kind of bug, but she is covered and it must be horrible!  I was not worrying too much until someone said she could go into anaphilactic  (I can't spell it) shock and die.  I couldn't take losing another one so soon to unexplained death, so I called the vet.  Well, he doesn't really know either what is causing this so he gave her Cortizone and antihistimine shots and I'm supposed to get more if she doesn't improve.

I started writing about the perfect day and this certainly is not perfect; but the horses behaved for the vet and the bill was actually less than I thought it would be, so those are good things.  AND it was NOT raining.

After the vet left I had a tuna sandwich (my favorite), let the horses out on pasture for a while and planted some flower seeds and plants.  I enjoy gardening also.  My son came to throw hay down for us and do a few odd jobs that Bill is not supposed to do since his heart attack.  I got on a horse and worked in the pen for about an hour.

Today I rode Shawnee and she was quite stubborn.  I rode her yesterday, the first time this year and she was pretty stubborn, but really rather good considering it had been 6 months since I was on her!  She is 10 and stocky and a brown, white and black paint mare.  She is wide and comfortable, but her gates are choppy, I'm sure just from the way she is built.  She is kinda funny!  She frequently decides she is done and won't go forward......................she backs up when she wants to quit.  Well, I don't let her get away with this
behavior, but she tries anyway.  These two days she is getting used to a new bridle and she is not happy about it.  I am because I feel it gives me a little more control.  She stops a lot better now, but she refuses to turn sometimes.  We are working on this, but she has a stubborn streak a mile wide.  She just doesn't realize that I do too!  It was good ride in general and we will just keep having to work on this stubborn stuff.  Anytime I don't get hurt or scared or intimidated is a good ride.

After an hour I got off and fed the horses, put ointment in the kitten's eyes.  The kittens are in the back barn and mama cat won't let us touch her.  One of the kittens fell out of the hay mow so we moved the other one down also.  Mama is leaving them there while we tame them and put eye ointment in their yucky eyes, something all our kittens get.  Then I headed into the house for shower and dinner. While in the shower I played John Denver.  One of my favorite songs of his is Annie's Song and I sang my heart out!  Feeling fresh and clean out of the shower, I made a sirloin burger and had a nice dinner. I had put pork chops in the crock pot for  Bill this morning and he was quite happy with his dinner too.  He had fresh asparagus out of the garden! While eating we watched Magnum PI.  I love that show and Tom Selleck.

So I am feeling relaxed, satisfied, productive, and fairly complete today.  A few things came up:  the vet, the sick horse, pain from my plantar fasciitis in my left foot, but in general it was a good day and I had energy to do all the things I wanted to do.  No telling what tomorrow will bring so I appreciate days like this and thank God for giving them to me.

So now I am going to relax in front of the TV and ice my foot so it won't hurt so much tomorrow.  I will go to bed when I want and wake up when my body is ready to.  I will read some and just enjoy myself and my dogs for the rest of the evening.  The end of an almost perfect day.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunshine v. Sage


I rode Sunshine today.  It was a nice ride out in the field.  At first she was very concerned about the neighbor's big pig.  It was out of the pen and wandering the field but stayed close to home and eventually roamed around the end of the barn and I'm sure went back in.  But while it was wandering it might have eaten horses and she kept a close eye on it and was ready to run.

This has not been a good spring for riding.  Cold and wind have really put a damper on taking horses out.  I have ridden Sunshine only twice before today;  that's twice since last October.  The first time she just didn't want to do anything I wanted and really messed up  my back.  When I gave all the other horses their wormer last month, she decided she was not going to take it and ran away from me. OK.  I knew I would get her sooner or later so I waited.  When I finally caught her and tried to squirt the paste into her mouth, the old camel put her head way up in the air so I couldn't reach it.  She is 10 years old and has never given me trouble about the wormer before.  That sort of set the tone for that first ride this spring.  She wouldn't stand for me to get on, another unusual behavior for her, and I just kept moving the mounting steps around.  When she finally stood I got half way on and she took off at a trot, out the barn and down an incline into the pen.  I was half on half off and she just wouldn't stop.  Somehow I managed to get all the way on but the damage was done.  I think I pulled half the muscles in my body, trying to pull my fat ass up in the saddle.  I was so mad.

Well, we worked small circles for almost an hour.  At first she wasn't even going to turn or do anything for me.  She was acting like a two-year old, and as a matter of fact, she wasn't that bad when she was two!  She finally settled and I worked up a sweat on me and her.  This is a horse who has been quiet and well- behaved for 10 years and now she was acting like the dumb blond that she is.  My farrier, Jennifer, says she is acting like a blond when she gets stubborn, but this is the worst I'd seen her. We day that because Sunshine is a Palomino - the blond of the horse world.  When I got off I practiced getting on and off and her standing still for several mounts.  No problem.

Two days later I came out for a ride again.  That time she was almost perfect and we didn't have any of the nonsense of the previous ride.  We had a nice 45 minutes in the pen just remembering who was actually in charge.  I am the boss horse, of course.

Today's ride was very nice.  The wind finally died down and the temperature was almost 60 - just about perfect.  She was totally cooperative (except for the pig part) and we even went out of the pen, down the lane and out into the neighbor's unplanted field, and then our hay field.  I made her do circles because all she wanted to do was eat hay.  My mistake was letting her have a taste and then I created a monster; a hay-eating monster.  But that was the only issue today and that was my fault.  We did walking and trotting circles and even cantered on the way back.  She has comfortable gates and really is a good girl.

Sunshine is Sage's replacement.  I have been dreading every ride because she is basically untested and I am basically a nervous wreck, especially when we go down the road.  My nervousness is unwarranted.  I have never had a serious problem with her on the road.  MY problem is I was so comfortable on Sage and I really want that back.  I miss her terribly.  If I had Sage I would have been out riding because the wind didn't bother her.  Sage was my comfort ride.  Sunshine is tall and lanky, where Sage was short and just right.  I am afraid if I fall off Sunshine I won't be able to get back on.  I wear my helmet with Sunshine and I never wore one with Sage.  Foolish maybe, but I trusted Sage and I still don't trust Sunshine.  I started riding Sage when she was 2 and I was 42.  I was still fearless.  Sage was exceptional and I never really had to de-spook her; she never really got upset about much.  I started riding Sunshine when I was 54 and a little more careful about what I was doing with my body.  It never occurred to me that I would get hurt on Sage and with Sunshine that seems to be my biggest concern.  My riding friend, Debbie, says I was lucky with Sage and Sunshine is more the norm.  So I have been working hard to train Sunshine and de-spook her and get her out into the world.  I won't go out unless Debbie comes to pick me up with her horse.  I never had to do that with Sage.  If Sage was afraid of something, she looked at it and would trust that I wouldn't let it hurt her.  Not so with Sunshine.  Sunshine turns around and head for home when she is unsure of anything, especially the neighbor's dogs.  I was not happy to see that they got two Irish Wolfhounds when they couldn't control the dogs they already had, and when dogs come running at Sunshine, she tries to run home.  This even happened at the forest preserve my friend and I trailer to.  I big black dog came bounding toward us and Sunshine turned her huge head around as fast as she could to take off, right into Debbie's head. Ouch.  She stopped and the dog was brought back to the leash and all ended well; even Debbie was all right.

Sage was in her first parade when she was six.  I'll blog another time about the parades we did, but my point is I keep comparing Sage and Sunshine.  I know its not fair and I am only harming myself.  So what do I do about it?  Sage's death was a complete surprise, almost a year ago, and I am having a hard time letting go.
I am seriously hoping that in time I will forget to compare them and be happy with Sunshine.  I think I am headed in that direction.  We both need a little more work.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Rain is not a friend to the horse enthusiast, as far as actual riding goes.  If you are lucky enough to have an arena, and I do, you are lucky enough.  However, in my circumstances getting into the area requires a boat or hip waders.  Since I am not into seriously making my life difficult, I usually forgo the arena in rainy weather.  For that reason, there is no riding in rainy weather at my house.  I'm a big wimp at my age (64) when it comes to riding under extreme circumstance and in my case, rain is an extreme circumstance.  So is excessive heat, cold, ice, snow, wind, mosquitoes, motorcycle runs, and bike races.  Every year as I get older there seems to be a new event added to my list to avoid.  Dogs are a big deterrent as well.  I want to ride to relax not to prove my manhood (even though I am a woman).

The rain we are getting now (April) will, of course bring beautiful, lush green hay fields and pastures, which are always a joy.  And in these days of uncertainty about the price of hay, and with the demise of many hay fields in the area, having our own hay is a real gift.  It is a gift that requires a lot of work as baling and stacking hay is labor intensive, which brings up another issue;  its hard finding young people who want to do that kind of work.  The best time for making hay is when it is hot and dry, and I mean HOT.  Most of the time hay baling is done in temps of 90 - 100.  There are a lot of other issues with making your own hay.  Too much or not enough rain influence the crop and determine when the hay can be brought in.  Since we don't have our own baler, we rely in a local farmer to squeeze our few six or seven acres in when he has time.  The rack wagons don't fit in our barn so the hay has to be stacked on the wagons, re-stacked into pick up trucks and then finally stacked in the hay mow of the barn.  We have a hay elevator, but it does not fit in the second barn.  And even though it is our own hay, we have to pay for use of the equipment and the hired hands to move the hay around.  Keeping people hydrated is important and frequent rests and cool areas are vital.  We don't want people falling off the hay racks.   Another issue with balking hay is that the cooler the weather, the sweeter the hay, so we usually want hot weather for putting up hay.  Once in the barn it is good practice to salt the hay so it doesn't spontaneously combust.  We do our best to make sure the hay is dry, but occasionally a "hot" bale with slugs of green hay ends up getting stacked and has the potential to start a fire.  Anyone who has done this a few times can feel the weight of a green bale, or slugs, within the bale because it will be heavier than the others.  When caught, those bales are removed for immediate use so they don't heat up.

Pastures - it would be delightful if we could just turn the horses out to pasture.  Our problem is that our pony foundered last year and is now restricted to how much fresh grass he can eat.  Foundering in horses (now known as laminitis) is when the horse gets too much sugar from the grass and that basically attacks his muscles and laminae in the hoof, causing inflammation and crippling if not cared for.  Antibiotic and pain medication for a month or so should relieve the pain, but on-going treatment is also required.  Often these horses are said to be insulin resistant - a lot like diabetes in humans - it effects them a little differently, but they are treated the same; restriction of carbs like fresh grass and oats, corn, sweet feeds, etc.  Sooooooooooo the pony can no longer have as much as he used to.   Since all my horses are pretty much overweight they are all susceptible to this malady.  Also since it is difficult to separate the pony from the herd, we treat them all as if they had the same disease.  Our horses get out on pasture for 1 - 2 hours only during dry, sunny days.  When it rains they tear up the grass and our purpose is to be able to feed them that same grass, so we rotate pastures and make sure they are not out too long.

My last comment on rain is that it makes mud.  Mud is no friend of mine, although the horses seem to love it:  to roll in that is.   Then the human rider has to spend a lot of time trying to get the mud off so I can put on a blanket and saddle!  I don't ride bareback any more.  My balance in the saddle is questionable, let alone on a slippery bare horse's back.  So if I am not exhausted after cleaning up the mud-loving equine I want to ride, I actually get on and ride.  Then as quickly as tack is removed and the ride is over the horse rolls in the mud again.  It's a never-ending battle.  Mud also pulls my boots off when I am trying to walk across the holding pen.  When my body is in motion it tends to stay in motion (Newton's law of physics) so when in midstride the mud pulls the boot off, the foot keeps going and the stockinged foot ends up the in muck.  Not my happiest moment when this happens.

My best year for riding was a drought.  No mud, no mosquitoes,  little hay, of course, but there is always a trade-off.  Horse riding seems to be a crap-shoot these days.