|November was a quiet month on the Preserve. The horses are all maintaining good weight, their coats are shiny and they appear to be in good health. They do not seem to be traveling the full length of the Preserve now that they have the mini pastures, but they do cover almost half the length on a daily basis. This indicates a return to the pattern they used to follow before hurricane Floyd, some pasture grazing, then grazing in the forest.
One visitor who has had considerable experience with horses said that if this is they way they appear after going through a herd reduction to three individuals then "the seed stock must have been just about perfect."
Chris Berg, who is with the Nature Conservancy in Florida, visited an area of our Preserve where no former logging roads are apparent. He noted that:
"I spoke with Dr. Henri Grissino-Meyer the dendrochronologist (tree ring dater) who has worked on Abaco. He says the size of trees in the picture is consistent with trees >75 years old, so this is certainly older than most of the pines on Abaco which grew up after the harvest in the 50's and 60's. But he thought the area could have been harvested during the logging operation in the early 1900's which did not leave behind such visible roads. No way to know for sure without some heavy duty analysis. But for now, you are best off to describe this forest as "older growth." Regardless, it is the most natural looking and most aesthetically pleasing pine forest on the island." And the horses chose it for their home. We've come full circle in returning them to this lovely area.
We have made some new contacts which may result in the long overdue health checks in the near future. This remains our top goal. On other fronts we are still waiting for progress.