Monday, October 4, 2010

Old winter coat

In patches all over the hills lately there are drifts of white stuff.

At first glance it looks as though there has been some sort of animal fight, they're tufts of white hair.
It just means it's now full spring and Kalara the grey mare is shedding again. Those are her rolling patches. She's mostly Arabian, but that tiny bit of Welsh Mountain Pony in her make up means she has a coat deep, dense and thick enough to stuff a horsehair sofa on her own. It starts as a lot of hairs sticking to the brush in late winter, and builds up to a crescendo where you can get handfuls off her by just by rubbing her with your fingers. Or even just looking at her. We spend hours grooming her and the hair just keeps coming. Sometimes I think that if we just kept on brushing her without stopping she'd be hair all the way to the middle and we'd end up with no horse at all. We get buckets of it, and we really do fill bags because I collect it for people with aviary birds. They love it for nesting material. Wild birds here also covet it as the essential luxury furnishing for their new homes.
On hot days the sheep wish they could shed their fleece the same way.