Spring is finally here bringing lovely warm weather, as well as those nasty, annoying, biting flies! Not only do they bite and hurt, but they can make me and my other pasture buddies very sick. On top of that, they swarm on my sweet, delicious doughnuts!
Today is Earth Day and I will be celebrating by playing the online computer game, “Fun on the Farm” on Equine Science 4 Kids! Will you? Test your knowledge on environmental stewardship and see if you are smarter than a horse!
Pollen isn’t the only thing that is flying in the air and making me sneeze, so is my own HAIR! It’s shedding season and a nice gust of wind sends my hair flying everywhere, tickling my nose. My equine scientist friend AND colleague (heh, heh, heh) spent several hours this past Saturday trying to help remove my undercoat by grooming me. I’m surprised that I’m not bald, considering all of the hair that Dr. M has combed off of me. It’s probably enough to cover another Lord Nelson!
Spring is here and the birds are flying north and building nests for their chicks. Birds are very important for the ecosystem, but in a horse barn, it’s a recipe for disaster!
My buddy Polly (the bird by my stable mate’s withers above) is very pretty and has a lovely voice and would never intentionally hurt me, but the bacteria and pathogens in her body can. Some diseases I can get from birds (and their POOP!) are salmonella or cryptococcosis (a type of fungus).
St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and even though there may not be a lot of green on my pasture, spring is right around the corner and I’m getting a head start on searching for the rare, lucky four-leaf clover, so I can hopefully meet a leprechaun! However, I need to be extremely careful. There are many clovers that are not so lucky and are EXTREMELY toxic to horses, especially alsike clover.
Love is in the air…or could it be a delicious heart-shaped doughnut that I smell?!?
With Valentine’s Day later this week, I’m planning to spend quality time with my gal pal, Hugme Christi! It took me a long time to figure out if she liked me or not. I used to pluck the petals off of flowers singing, “She loves me. She loves me not,” over and over again until there weren’t any petals left. But that wasn’t very scientific of me. I’m a professor of equine science, so I put my thinking cap on and started to pay closer attention to her behavior.
I hope everyone is staying dry and toasty in your home (and barn!) these days, and that you have all a fantastic start to the New Year! The snow was piling up just in time to celebrate all the winter holidays, and it hasn’t stopped since! Christi and I had a blast playing yesterday, making Pegasuses in the snow, seeing who could race to the other end of the pasture quickest, and shaking tree branches to drop an avalanche of frost on each other’s backs. Despite the snow and ice everywhere I look, it does remind me of a question that I received from Claire, a 9 year old budding scientist…
I’m Lord Nelson, a American Quarter Horse.
My first job at Rutgers University was on mounted patrol. I also carried the Scarlet Knight mascot at football games. One day I became famous when I got excited, stepped onto the field and became the only horse in history to receive a penalty in a football game! And I’m curious and mischievous! I love to be outside, so don’t ever leave my stall door open. I love all kinds of food – just about nothing at a picnic is safe. I also don’t like cheese puffs. That cheetah on the bag scares me to death! After 22 years on mounted patrol, I’m proud to be back, working for the Rutgers Equine Science Center and telling everyone what I know.