The last time I wrote about our track system attempts was back in May last year. Towards the end of the year I abandoned the track idea because it was just making too much mess of the ground; not a serious mess as we’re on sandy soil here, but enough to be annoying our yard owner. The herd will always take the shortest possible route which means you end up with single track pathways worn into the ground and, in winter, these get particularly muddy and churned up – especially when certain mares decide they have to immediately gallop as fast as possible from one end to the other, slamming on the brakes at the last minute and occasionally (but not always) managing to stop before they hit the fence.
We moved onto the hillside a few months ago and I began tentatively making tracks again. At first I had to move a lot of fencing – when the fenceline started to look a bit bald from where they’d been walking, I would move it inwards or outwards a few metres. The last few weeks have been perfect conditions for a track as it’s been bone dry (apart from a 10 minute downpour a couple of days ago, it hasn’t rained here for a month) and so they haven’t trashed the ground by continuously walking in the same places all day.
Here’s a bit of video of the herd walking from one end of the track (the end where they get fed) to the other (the end where I’ve been moving the fence for strip-grazing) yesterday evening. Sped up, of course (I missed a trick by not applying the Benny Hill theme tune. You’ll have to imagine it). Xato doesn’t feature because he always takes his time checking all the empty feed bowls before wandering round on his own – when he reached me, he stopped and waited patiently until I’d finished filming so that he could have his bedtime scratchies. He always gets bedtime scratchies.
With the track set up, it takes approximately 3 minutes to walk from one end of the field to the other.