We have been in quite a severe drought for the past 4 years, with nothing but dust in the paddocks. All the dams in the area have been bone dry for at least 2 years, and all the stock have either been moved to other agistment paddocks, or (as in my case) been getting hand fed twice a day.
And now it has started to rain! In the past 4 weeks we have had over 10 inches of rain.... and all the dams are over-flowing, the weeds are starting to really get ahead now (bugger!), and the horses are starting to get mild laminitis from the fresh new sprouts of grass. Not that there is a lot of grass, mind you! The dust bowl that was my paddocks ensured that most of the grass roots had completely shrivelled up and died long ago, but there are a few hardy patches of grass coming back through.
Mostly we just have weeds. Some of them are horse-friendly, and some are not. The pests like Lantana, Privet and Prickly Pear are just having a field day!! But the place LOOKS green, and it really is refreshing to see.
Of course, this means that I've had to put the work on Flamenco on hold for the past couple of weeks, as the round yard has been just too wet and slippery to do any work in it.
A few days ago we got her into the stable to do some more mounting and dismounting practice, and I'm pleased to report that she's really very solid on these aspects now. Then today we took her into the round yard again, Tarni mounted her with no problem at all, and I led her around for nearly 30 minutes. She was pretty full of herself to begin with (all that time off, and some fresh grass in her belly!), but she soon settled down.
Flamenco's mother, Fiesta, was quite a handful at this stage of her starting process, and Flamenco is following in Mum's hoofprints. She is quite an alert mare, always looking and aware of what's going on around her, and too willing to react to the slightest movements. The flies are out in force (courtesy of the rain), and as it heated up they were beginning to bother horse, rider and handler (me)!
Flamenco was not impressed! She didn't like me brushing flies off my face, and she certainly didn't like Tarni trying to wave the flies away.
So after about 30 minutes, we took her back into the stall and Tarni did a lot of de-sensitising her to arms being waved about, and sudden twitches! It was a good session, and Flamenco did end up not being too fussed about it all.
This week we hope to work with her every day, but then she'll have another break over Christmas as I'll be away for 9 days or so. (Then it can rain some more!)