A return visit last Friday (19 February) with volunteers who’d not been able to join us the previous week. Bee and Ascot were more willing to be caught than last time (though Bee was busy with a mouthful of rushes and needed coaxing to join us), and seemed pleased with the renewed attention (see picture of Bee dozing peacefully). And yes, they are definitely eating the rush – perhaps because it’s colder and there’s less grass to go at, perhaps they’ve only just realised how tasty it is? They’ve got a long way to go, but you can see some chewed off tufts if you look.
Last Friday (12 February) a group of pony volunteers spent some time with Ascot and Bee, the two Fell ponies. They were checked over carefully by Chloe, our vet-volunteer, who declared them both in good health and certainly not underfed (that’s a polite way of saying they are distinctly tubby). The rest of us were invited to brush and comb them – there was plenty of mud to go at, and Bee in particular had achieved some remarkable self-plaiting of her mane. By the time we’d finished they looked distinctly smarter, and they seemed quite pleased with all the attention (unless it was the bag of hay they were given to keep them quiet). And yes indeed, they were clearly seen nibbling at the soft rush. The last few days’ colder weather has evidently slowed down the grass growth – if it would only last for a week or two, they might begin to make a serious impact on the rush.
Thank you to Aidan Cragg for the photos.
Just to report that as I walked along the Pads footpath yesterday I observed one of the ponies eating soft rush!