January 08, 2011

Moose safari

After two months with very low temperatures and not much snow, the situation has changed and we have been getting much snow but higher temperatures.
And when we get much snow, the animals get problems to move higher up in the mountains, so they move down to the bottom of the valley where we ride.

It was a lovely day yesterday with trees heavily laden with the new snow, and both sun and some fog which made a wonderful scenery.
As I got home from work a bit early, I decided to take Fame out for a hack.

I took her out from her food, so a bit on our way she tried to grab some branches sticking out from the snow.
When I told her "no" we suddenly had some commotion from the forest just in front of us.
Turned out to be three moose that had been standing watching us, without us noticing.

Luckily they turned around and ran off away from us.
Problem is that when we get much snow, the moose too wants to follow the paths or the roads as the going is easier, and then it can be a bit tricky sometimes.

Fame luckily doesn't worry much about moose, she is quite used to them.
She is curious though, and often sniffs the ground in their tracks, sometimes also wanting to follow their tracks.

She had a lot of excess energy after two days off, one of them unplanned - so we aired the system with some fresh canter for quite a while, uphill.
She has had some extra forage due to the cold, and it makes her more on her toes.

Even if she had had a real good workout, she was still full of energy on the way back with tendencies to some jogging which I don't like.
I had to turn her energy into some work instead, and that was why I did not see the fourth moose until we were just beside him.
He was lying down in the snow just beside our path - I would say only some 5-7 m off.
Anyway, we pranced on, he just moved some ears and past him we were.

Horses, not moose!
Moose are large animals, but I am not very worried about the moose when we ride out.

I have had many close encounters over the years, and no bad experiences so far. (But I do know of incidents where my fellow riders have been chased.)
When I do worry though is when I am out driving.
I see them by the road almost every day driving through the valley. If you get them in front of the car, the car hits the legs and you get the body straight up on your wind screen.
People here are killed in moose accidents every year.

My friend Anne, who is studying in Germany has gone English.
She bought a new horse a couple of months ago.


Grey Horse Matters said...

It's nice you're getting warmer temperatures now and are able to ride out with Fame. Beautiful scenery, I like the shadow picture of you and Fame.

We usually only see deer around here. I'd be a little nervous of the moose on the trails. They are so huge and I wouldn't want to take the chance of being chased by them either.

Annette said...

I've only seen moose in Wyomming. We don't have them here -- just deer, coyotes, bobcats and the occasional mountain lion.

HorseOfCourse said...

Anette - Waaaaeeeeh - mountain lions?! I would feel nervous, riding out in the forest...

We have bobcats here to, but they are very shy. Have never seen one. I see deer from time to time, fox and smaller animals.
We have wolves and bear too, but not too close to us.

Wiola said...

This is like a world from books of James Oliver Curwood which I was mad about in my early teens :) Stunning.
(Glad to hear temperatures are dropping :P)

Wolfie said...

I love moose. I have only seen a couple in the wild close up in my life, and they are truly majestic animals. I envy you being able to ride in amongst them. :-)

Claire said...

amazing what you can see from the back of a horse - the wildlife never seems quite so scared and so you get a much better look than when on foot.

we don't have moose, of course, only deer...

RuckusButt said...

I agree with Wolfie, I love moose. I don't know why but I find them fascinating. I spent a lot of time in central Newfoundland many years ago as a field assistant to my husband and I did everything I could to moose-watch.

Here I see deer quite a lot and most of the horses are used to them. The problem is they are bouncy and can pop-up out of nowhere, spooking horse and rider alike! I also hear coyotes a lot at the barn but never see them.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I can't imagine seeing moose out on a trail ride. I'm glad you haven't had any trouble with them and that Fame takes it all in stride.

Donna said...

Stunning pictures! I'm a bit of a cold wimp but I do love how the world looks so different, so fresh and clean, under a blanket of snow. I think moose are lovely creatures, but then again, I like camels too!

Shanster said...

Love the long legged shadow pix of you and your Fame! Glad you are out and about having fabulous rides!

JMA said...

Amazing photos. Thankyou for sharing!

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your kind comments all!

mugwump said...

I would love to see moose. This year we have only ridden with fox, deer, wild turkeys, at least those are who we have seen. And of course coyotes, always coyotes.
We have lion, bobcat, bear and moose here, but I have never seen a moose.

HorseOfCourse said...

Mugs - I wouldn't mind the deer or the wild turkeys, but you can keep the lions, coyotes and the bear!

Merri said...

right now my winter is in the south where it's warm and no snow. thanks for taking me along on this gorgeous cold winter ride!!
- The Equestrian Vagabond