Questions regarding being a good horse leader
Sorry, I had a hard time titling this thread! And thank you for reading to the end, I feel like more info is better than hardly any! :D
I have a previous post where I had asked about letting our new horse be put with the old horse, here http://www.horseforum.com/horse-trai...gether-134631/ if anyone wants to catch up on it.
Thank you to all who replied, and to summarize, we did put them together with really no theatrics to speak of; I was quite surprised. They have been together for almost 3 days now, and aren’t having too many squealing or kicking or biting moments.
But I do still have a few questions.
So newby a 7 yr old who is def. the lead mare. Sonata is the 3.5 yr old laid back previously had horse who has no issues being follower.
Question 1: When we are in the pasture and I want to interact with Sonata, be it to check a hoof, rub her, what not, and not interact with newby, but newby tries to run Sonata off, I assume since I am technically the biggest lead mare, I can run newby off and tell her to pound sand, right? That won’t cause issues among the 2 of them will it? Part 2 of this question: I swear today when newby went after Sonata for what was seemingly nothing, Sonata had run to me, I assume for protection from it? Is that what she is doing, and do I get to tell newby to back off, what she is doing is uncalled for? I can’t see any good reason for newby to run Sonata, other than that she can, in those moments, other than jealousy.
Question 2: When they do get into tiffs, this is how they go: newby w/ body lang. lets Sonata know she wants her to do something: move, etc, I assume. Most times Sonata does- 99%. But it seems that sometimes newby does it just to be a brat, or to block her from something, so Sonata stands up a bit to her. My question is this- when Sonata does appear to stand up, she almost immediately spins around and offers her butt to newby, and if she feels she needs to, she will kick too, different strengths, depending on how annoyed she is by newby and how hard newby was to her. Of course newby then spins around and throws kicks too. Sometimes it becomes a kicking and squealing match. Is this appropriate communication between them? When Sonata was previously boarded, the other mares seemed to all communicate through biting, which newby doesn’t do much, or Sonata doesn’t tolerate as much from newby, and therefore spins to offer her butt instead.
Oh and this doesn’t happen when hay is involved. They are fine then, newby just walks Sonata off, and Sonata leaves to the next pile.
Okay, I think that is enough for now, thanks to anyone who can offer a bit of insight into the horse psyche for us! :P
I think if Newby tries to run sonata off when you are out there, you must firmly run Sonata off. She has to know that she cannot interrupt you when you are with another horse. It will not ruin things with them.
It sounds like they may not fully have worked things out betweent he two. It is possible that when dom. mare runs subord. mare off the food, that sub. mare understands this and views it as totally acceptable and normal. But with issues that are not connected to the horse logic of dom. horse controls the resources (food , water) then sub. mare may become irritated, since Dom. mare is not following the rules quite fairly. Dom. mare is being a bully, and horses hate a bully.
In your first paragraph, I think you meant that I must run newby off, not Sonata, correct? That newby, though dom. must understand I supersede her and can tell her to go when I want Sonata alone, correct? That is what my line of thinking was also.
And I also thought it was bully behavior! Though it didn't click fully until you said it. It drive me nuts to see! In her prior pasture, Sonata got bullied quite a bit.
I did figure they def. have some sorting to do still, I was certainly happy though to see that they can eat in relative peace.
If I happen to be out with them and see dom. mare being a bully, should I call her on it, and run her off also? Though obviously I am not about to get physically in the middle of it. I have thought about throwing food dishes though...
Glad to see that I seem to be learning from all these posts that I read!
Thank you TinyLily for your reply!
yes, I meant newby. You could try interrupting the bully behavior. might be interesting to see what happens. There aren't any hard rights and wrongs, just what keeps you safe, and what endangers you. So, stay sharp to that.
might I ask where in WA you are?
:) Exactly! I think I might toss the food bowl at newby next time, just to see what happens. Though this last time newby got a good kick to right above her tail, which scraped off some skin, though I am sure she learned nothing, lol!
We live out in the sticks west of Spokane, and only recently so. So I am as yet unfamiliar with local geography- Bellevue is the coast, correct?
Sounds like things are going well. There will always be little tiffs and bad days, especially if both mares go into season at the same time...that's life with horses. Although our mares never give me problems when in season, they can fuss with each other a bit more.
Thank you PHM! The dynamics of my same horse with a different new one are certainly interesting! When Sonata was boarded, she was always low-girl for food, b/c she was being chased away from the piles, even though there was always 1 more pile than horses. Now, with just her and newby, we toss 2 piles and they are fine. We did the 3 pile thing a bit, and noticed there was no need, so we just make 2 even but well spread out piles. They of course trade a few times during a meal, but all very low key, which is wonderful to see!
The random, stupid, bossy because I can be drives my husband nuts! Sonata is truly a wonderfully sweet, smart, etc. (can't sing enough praises of my horse, can you tell?!) horse, and he is worried she will change due to the bossy bully behavior, so it worries him to see it. But like you said, its horse life, and it can't be stopped, and so far its still FAR better than when she was boarded. We just worry about a worse injury due to kicks, but we can't control it all! Guess I should be happy we hopefully have found a mare that likes/truly tolerates my little social butterfly.
Thanks again for the comments and help! :)
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