The Horse Forum banner

1461 - 1477 of 1477 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,161 Posts
I really enjoyed reading this! 😎 And Brett and I were thinking that you have such a very different attitude from my father when it comes to socialising horses. You understand that they are social animals and need to be in a herd - they shouldn't be kept in little yards away from each other, as Bones is reminding everyone today. So they need to be introduced to each other and be allowed to make their own rules, and intervention (because of enclosed areas where animals can't escape far away) is only necessary if there is serious injury risk, which getting nipped in the behind and losing a bit of fluff isn't an example of, and neither is the odd scrape, or bite that grazes skin (although taking chunks, and doing it regularly, is serious, and a horse that does that can go in a grazing muzzle when turned out with others bwahahaha 🥳 - and maybe Bones can wear a grazing muzzle while he waits in situations like this, if he's still inclined to take chunks out of himself when frustrated).

It's so ironic looking back on the nearly four decades that my parents kept horses, either singly or in pairs to avoid injury, and what they got as a result is a lot of emotionally distressed, neurotic horses who spend much of their time bored to tears and socially deprived (not to mention unable to explore the countryside). One of their stallions has self-harmed since retirement from racing, and has been solitary for 28 or his 29 years, poor thing (he's the one stallion I didn't get out to our place after retirement - it will be so sad when he's dead, to think he never ever got to run in a herd, after he came out of his herd as a yearling and went to the sales - he always loved being around other horses when at races, and he's super-social with humans, but hasn't had much attention after retirement as my father is always busy mucking out stables and fixing electric fences).

The biggest injury Sunsmart ever got was from being kept apart from other horses, before I adopted him. He kicked the side of his loosebox in frustration and ran at the walls biting over the top all the time, so they built horizontal steel rails high up to stop him doing that. And then he got one of his hind hooves caught in a gap between the rails when he was kicking one night, about 4ft off the ground, and he fell over with his foot trapped, and it was over an hour before anyone found him, half-hanging by one leg, and catatonic with shock. He had to be angle-ground out of the trap he was in, and it took him a long time to come out of shock. When he finally got to his feet, he had a huge wound over his hip bone on the side he'd been lying on, where he'd had so much weight concentrated while initially struggling to free himself; not to mention several deep wounds on his legs - all of which he has big scars from even today. You can see the one on his hip, more than 15 years later:

Also there were so many fence injuries where horses in adjacent yards got their legs caught in wire. My father's answer to that wasn't to run the horses in a herd, but to replace the fences with electric polybraid...

That didn't stop the horses I've now got here (and the one I sadly couldn't adopt) from walking up and down their electric fences much of the day with the dead eyes of solitarily caged social animals, wearing deep grooves next to the fence, so deep (in our sandy soil) that my father frequently had to attend to star pickets that were falling over because the ground near them was so worn away...

Also, many of my father's horses have died prematurely of sand colics - because that's what happens when you keep bored horses sedentary in sand yards. We've not had a colic out here in our naturally-kept horses, in the ten years we've been here. We had one mild colic in Romeo once after he had too much concentrate, not necessitating veterinary attention - but he was a special case with tooth loss, and after that happened, we knew where his bucket-feed limits lay.

30 years ago, one of the race mares broke her leg in a trial. It didn't stop my father racing, but if one of the paired horses in the yards had broken a leg, my father would have split them all up and made them all live in solitary yards...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,462
@SueC I wish I could turn out as wonderfully as you do! I am always envious of your environment. We do in certain times set up electric fences and that feels more exploratory, but most of the year they are in the big corral. It is nice at least because they get to run around and play.

I guess I never personally noticed the problem with solitary horses until probably Zeus! We never had any, and so I didn’t think too terribly much about it. When Zeus came he was, I don’t know, kind of spoiled I guess, and it was so obvious he needed interaction just in the time he was in our little corral!

I also read much about self mutilating after getting Bones. What I read blamed the mental illness on being solitary as an aggressive stud horse. It makes sense. It is sad that permanently he is stuck with his issues now because of that time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,731 Posts
I liked your post SueC, but obviously don't "like" it! It is one of the painful parts of being a human. I have ample moral faults and I suspect a lot more than I realize. Like others I know, I can both intentionally ignore AND be utterly unaware of genuine faults. But how we treat animals says a lot about us. Often not good.

So they need to be introduced to each other and be allowed to make their own rules, and intervention (because of enclosed areas where animals can't escape far away) is only necessary if there is serious injury risk
Our granddaughter got a puppy for Christmas. I'm not in favor of the practice but she has had a hard year (parents fighting) and I agreed to it knowing that if she ignored the dog, we'd be stuck with it. Worse, she really wanted a pug. She has a very small nose and wanted a dog who would "look like me". I honestly see no sign she looks like a pug, but the parents and my wife out-voted me. I object to pugs because I despise how they are bred. ANY dog bred in a way that limits them physically, intentionally, bothers me. Again, I was outvoted.

In any case, I have to admit Elsa Pugsley is doing a good job as a puppy and our granddaughter has cleaned up puppy mistakes without a whisper of complaint. To include taking her out at 3 AM for preventive maintenance, so to speak! But it is a bit odd. We've got a 50 lb Border Collie and a 110-120 lb German Shepherd. So the puppy is very small compared to the other dogs and "allowed to make their own rules" sound like it would be a disaster. And we DO need to keep an eye on them. The GS could hurt her just by stepping wrong. The Border Collie is 12 and not inclined to play, but when he does he can get too excited about it and sometimes needs to be blocked.

But they ARE figuring things out, on their own. The puppy is mostly called Pugsley, but she had Elsa added because in the Born Free story, the smallest of the lion cubs was also the most feisty, and that was the basis of the author naming her Elsa - after a girl she once knew. And Elsa Pugsley seems unaware her size means she is supposed to mind, from the bottom of the pack:


We periodically need to wipe dog spit off her. The other dogs can't grab her in their mouths without soaking her! And once in a while she gets tired, or will challenge the others from under the couch,but most of the time she is the one starting things. Although Jack will tell her when she is about to be in trouble, or he'll take refuge with my wife or me:


They need supervision but they also NEED to work things out. Dogs and horses seem to do so, not always fairly and sometimes with some missing hair, but they need to do so. All three of them will form bonds. It may be harder when the granddaughter returns to her parents - probably separately - although a pug IS small enough to be allowed in most apartments. Elsa Pugsley is very fond of humans and will adapt as needed, but her early life will include running around with much larger dogs. And the larger dogs will take care of her when outside. Otherwise coyotes would get her.

Some animals are solitary by nature. Dogs and horses are not. Many can adapt and live solitary. But many cannot. And we need to let them figure it out so they can become the animals they were meant to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,464
We do need to @bsms, and at times it will work out terribly, most of the time it will work out well.

Bones was added in this morning. First thing that happened was Queen took a run at him and double barreled towards him (he is faster than Zeus). Lucy immediately intervened, and it took work for her to keep Bones away. Cash has taken charge this afternoon, as Lucy worked herself back into sore feet.

He put Bones in a corner and beat on him. For whatever reason this made Cash a little lame. He has given Bones a hard line to learn to leave alone the filly. It seems to be working out though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,747 Posts
I feel a little sorry for Lucy. Queen attacks the other horses, then Lucy has to make sure they don't have their retribution. Lol.
Glad it seems to be working out.

Amore used to wander anywhere she wanted, and Halla had her hooves full punishing other horses for getting too close, even though it was Amore's fault.

Smoky, the horse with heaves is up on the hill in a field just across a gravel road from my horses, since his pasture flooded. Yesterday when I drove up, Hero was standing guard from his field while Smoky was down sleeping. It made me wonder if he even lays down when he is down the hill by himself.

I will be very surprised if Elsa Pugsley is not the boss very soon. We had a tiny Chihuahua female when I was a teen, with two big male dogs. She was in charge, and could push the other dogs away from treats, food dishes, dog beds, etc. She used to push her neck up to the Dalmatian's nose. Then he'd open his mouth so she could scratch her neck against his canine teeth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,466
Elsa Pugsley is cute even if she ends up being bossy. Lol

@gottatrot I feel sorry for her a bit too. Especially since she made her feet sore again... I am glad she is protecting Queen from what would have surely been brutal, as the older horses have all had a very hard addition into this group. I guess every corral kind of has its own culture. This one tends to be very harsh in the beginning.

I don’t know that it makes for well behaved young animals, the way she protects them, but she does also require that they mind her. I am sure Queen will get her lessons along the way, but I’m actually impressed with the way Lucy has ran it this time.

When Zeus came in, Pete was still the boss. She protected Zeus, but Pete managed the coral. Lucy now has done both, but also used Cash who is the second in the pen. They have never worked together to manage an issue, and it has been pretty cool to see them come together.

I haven’t given her any respect as boss; I always figured she was just kinda nasty. She’s kinda winning my respect in handling this situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,467
They are officially segregated now. 😂 It is adult horses vs kid horses. The adult horses have won; the kids’ horses are in a sad bachelor herd.
BD1B7F09-90F6-4058-96A8-921258C85BBB.jpeg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,468
Happy last day of 2020 everyone!! I like New Years; I like the reflection it brings and the resolutions.

I am kinda late this morning to go milk my cow, so I won’t write a story (I guess I would be late, I’m not actively late as of yet.), but yesterday my brother visited (he lives In Nebraska and is down for Christmas) with some of his in-laws. There was a big group of small kids, and Zeus was the horse for pony rides! Kids piled around him mauling the little dude, and they rode him around at a walk which instigated much joyful and sometimes panicked screaming. ;)

He was quite the man for the job. I had Cash saddled up in case Zeus didn’t pan out, but Cash seemed less than enthused about the small children. It’s been rare for him to see one, so that is fair.

They pet Mama Pepper (also not particularly impressed with small children) and the horses in the corral. Queen was rather wide eyed, but she did let a girl touch her nose (supervised of course). Teeter tried to crawl out of her skin, and the geese were chased across the yard in shock that small children do more than cower. Even the chickens were not off limits, and they got much attention. One made a break out of the coop, but the group of adults managed to catch it and put it back (I came in at the end of that, or I’d have just let the chicken be until everyone had left.)

The kitties were toted around the yard, and I was surprised that none scratched! Apparently I have very small child tolerant cats.

I was happy with the behavior of all of the animals. I hope the kids had a memorable trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,469
Cashman and Lucy

Although the horses had been ridden fairly consistently throughout the winter days, they had been missing work. At least Cashman had, and he was excited to be caught before breakfast. Lucy also knew it was a work day, and she refused to allow the woman to halter her.

Normally the woman would have given chase and caught the lazy mare, but Queen was asking to be caught. When the woman continued to walk away from the little filly she decided to see why the mare was running. She pranced over, looking like a dressage prodigy, her white legs drawing attention and exaggerating her high step. The woman walked to Queen and rubbed her neck, “I’m not teaching you this game,” she told the filly as she followed her towards the gate, “you have to stay here today.”

She texted her husband to catch his own mare unless he wanted another horse, and he wanted the mare. To save the filly the lesson, she caught her and tied her to the trailer until it was time to go. The man came home and caught the mare after she ran tail high. She was cornered with Zeus on the one side refusing to move, and the man eased up to her and slipped the halter on.

“Danged mare,” the woman laughed as she walked outside, “you owe Zeus an apple.”

Once they made it to work the ground was icy and dangerous. Everything was asked slowly, and the horses took care with each step. The heifers were young however, and they milled and occasionally slipped. Running them through the chute left only the woman and her mother horseback. The buckskin and the giant sorrel worked well on the ice, and they eased around managing the job easily.

The big horse was happy to have finally done something different. He was bored of loping through the snow and toting along the filly. He wasn’t ready to load back into the trailer for home, or to be turned loose in his corral.

The little filly ran at him as the woman undid the heavy draft halter from his face. She pinned her ears, the picture of an angry old mare teaching a lesson, but much smaller than the giant horse he only pinned his ears and bit her neck in return. She was angry that he left and she stayed. She tucked her soft head under the woman’s arm, cuddling close and begging to be haltered.

“I will come back for you soon little mare,” the woman whispered as she stroked the long downy hair on the filly’s neck.


Queen

The little filly did not feel like a little filly. Everything about her seemed older, although she was a young animal. She was oddly confident, convinced the world would bow to her. This conviction only grew when she was by the woman’s side. She knew she could do anything when they were together.

This was confusing for the woman, although it made her laugh and stole her heart early. The little filly snaking around at anything that bothered her brought laughter to the woman, although the man and the little girl really disliked the temperament of the fancy little mare. She found the confusion in not condoning the bad behavior of the filly.

She knew it was wrong that the mare took runs at the other horses and gave dirty looks to many of the humans she met, but she enjoyed the confidence the little mare presented. Queen was truly a queen in her own mind, and she never doubted her ability to do anything.

The woman’s grandfather also got a kick from watching the little mare. He told her, “That horse loves you. She would do anything for you; she just wants you to ride her. I saw her strike at the old mare,” he giggled then as if he were still a small boy, “she has her own mind too.”

The filly did want to be ridden. Finally the woman gave in just for a moment, and jumped onto the bare back. She broke into laughter when the filly walked away proudly. The woman asked her to turn around each way and she did, and the woman laughed again. She stopped and then backed up when she asked her to, and held herself with such pride as the woman slipped off of the little filly’s back.

The filly looked down on the world as she walked back to her pen. She was no filly in her mind, and the ride proved it to everyone.
BFEE2E60-94E2-48AE-81C8-F5B2EAD1969E.jpeg
BA72F947-588A-4785-B03B-EBED8AFCEE07.jpeg
D20B38D9-D889-4685-B29B-4D79AA585A79.jpeg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,472
She really is, isn’t she @gottatrot! She makes me laugh so much. She is my friend in this interesting way, and I am so excited about her. The girls said they prayed for her, and I think their prayers were answered (although little one is convinced she is the most awful horse ever. Lol).

@kewpalace I do too! I am surprised by how quickly I became this attached to her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,474
Thank you @knightrider! I just adore her right now. I do think she’s going to be a very big horse like Cash, but I think she will continue to be more athletic. I love Cash too of course, so it’s not the end of the world if she isn’t an athlete, or, better put, if she’s more lineman than quarterback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,161 Posts
Haha! I wonder if I will ride Julian this year? Was nearly there two years ago, but broke my foot and played catch-up, and then Sunsmart got ill at the start of last year, and when he got better I now only want to ride him because I don't know how long we have... but it would be good to do some little things with him, because like your Queen, he wants to work. Also he's getting increasingly snuggly this last month or so!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,476
Maybe you will ride him this year @SueC! That danged foot did change things, but maybe it is his year! I love that he’s snuggly!

Queen is super snuggly with me. She is so funny though. Yesterday when I caught her Bones decided he was going to take advantage and bit at her. I turned around to back him off. Queen, just in my eye beside me was backing me up like I was in a fight. Lol

Her ears were pinned and her neck flat, and she was striking the air. I had to laugh at her as we turned around and walked out of the corral. She was feeling especially tough next to me, and the dogs that wandered across our path on the way to tie up got snaky looks and jump towards. I was dying laughing at her.

Maybe she’s trouble... boy does she make me laugh now though. I have decided to enjoy that for now, and if a day comes where her attitude towards others becomes a problem I must manage I will deal with it then. For now I will laugh and let her be her bad self.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,352 Posts
Discussion Starter #1,477
Cashman and Queen

It was always the massive sorrel that the woman caught first. Even when he wasn’t going she caught him first and tied him while she caught any other horses. He was extremely jealous of her attention, and she worked around his obsessiveness.

Queen however was at the gate first, as she always was when she saw the house door open. She was similar to the big horse in her obsessive personality. The woman was her partner. Catching Cash first worked only because she knew to be fearful of the giant, but it bothered the young mare none the less. No other horse could the woman catch without her already tied, for her confidence far outweighed her size.

Today her confidence in the woman, and irritation with the situation, finally outweighed her fear. She didn’t consider that the giant horse was already mad about the prior day, when she was worked with while he was left behind. He had made his feelings about the day clear to the woman, and she was prepared to focus on him and protect his feelings on this day.

Queen knew none of this, and as her temper flared the woman was opening the gate for the giant sorrel gelding. The little mare took a run at him then, biting his hip. It happened too quickly for the woman to respond after that.

Cashman pulled through her hands and spun around, trapping the filly and the woman in the corner. Thinking quick she hooked the gate as she climbed. The big horse’s hooves were flying in their direction, pounding the filly as the woman climbed. She could barely see the filly trying to climb with her in the mess of things, and knew they were in a bad situation.

Quickly enough the little mare found an outing from her corner, and she scooted out and away from her retribution. The big horse took after her and the woman jumped from the fence and back into the fight. It was fast that she had the big horse’s rope, and the little filly ran to her side. Overwhelmed she tried to assess the situation, an upset horse on each arm.

Lucy pranced towards them. She wouldn’t miss a fight, and the woman yelled “No Lucy!” The little dog jumped in as he felt a hero should, and he bit the oncoming mare. “No Pig! Don’t! Lucy no!” She pulled her phone from her pocket, lucky her husband was in the house for lunch. “Come and help me now!”

The man was outside quickly, having missed the scene he read the corral and brought Queen’s halter to the woman. She gave him Cashman and explained it all while he argued with the big horse.

She rode him in the cold wind. He quickly forgot why she worked him so hard, and he only was happy that he was being ridden and not insulted as he had been the prior day. He was contented when she turned him loose, watching for any mistake and he was on his best behavior. Nothing to scold the beast for, she placed her head on his and her hand on his cheek. “You have to remember where I am. It’s your job to protect me you big beast. I don’t care if you’re mad.”

Queen came next, and she was the picture of perfection as she always was when she was with the woman. She cuddled up to the little mare after the ground work in the cold.

What would she do about the two of them? Why did all of her horses become so obsessive and jealous? If a horse was a window into your soul hers must require explanation. She hoped it was over for a time though, as Queen must have learned her lesson from the beating the big horse gave to her.
 
1461 - 1477 of 1477 Posts
Top