Yes, it has been a while since I have written about my ‘fresh off the range’ Mustang, Rojo.
(If you’d like to read previous RED HORSE DIARIES, click here. If you’d like to visit his FB page, click here.)
So today I thought I would tell you about Rojo’s Adventure with the Witches of Eastbarn…
Yup, I did manage to take a photo documentary (albeit blurry) of Rojo’s Harem Acquisition – which was a pretty good feat for a short, young, wet around the ears gelding. Actually, a really good feat if you knew the mares in question… Yup. I put him in with the Witches of Eastbarn.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I have a soft spot for all of my animals. If they look at me and ask for something, I try to figure out a way to mold their request into something beneficial or healthy.
So, when the ponies demanded (incessant screaming, scraping their teeth on the metal gates, banging on the wire fencing, biting through the wire fencing, kicking the fence boards, overturning their waterer, tearing down their shelter, rolling rocks into the wire fences … inciting general mayhem and using every pony revolution tactic available…) that they be released from the itty bitty pasture (…to them – it is actually around half of an acre) and be returned to their, much larger and more fitting pasture – I tried to make it work.
After all, I kindof agreed with them.
It did suck that I had relegated them to the smaller pasture when I put the new horse (Rojo) into their former pasture. It wasn’t fair and I agreed with them.
But, if I moved the ponies back into their former pasture, what was I to do with Rojo?
As you may have read in a previous post, the last time I tried to put Rojo in with the mares, they attacked him.
NUGGET OF FEAR.
So I asked myself – what was my hesitation in putting Rojo with the mares? I knew he could probably take care of himself. But I was worried.
It took a while for me to figure out that I wasn’t worried about Rojo as much as I was worried about my Tess (Grand dam, 22 years old…). What if they fought and she was injured? THAT was what worried me.
I decided to move Tess into the ponies’ former pasture and then release the ponies in with her. They love her. She hates them. Perfect!
But, she tolerates them and there are no issues… so it would work.
And, If I did that, the mares would be left without without a leader – which would be a good thing (I’ll explain in the next graph…).
AN ASIDE – the Witches of Eastbarn…
As an aside, I have to say that the relationship of the Mares of Eastbarn (the three mares left in that pasture without Tess — Gwen, Sam and Remi) is mind boggling. I’ve never seen anything like it…
They circle all day because there is no leader. It is like ROCK PAPER SCISSORS with horses.
Here is how it goes:
Gwen trumps Sam
Sam trumps Remi
Remi trumps Gwen
Circle, circle, circle. There is no peace in the pasture. It exhausts me to watch this endless push-off.
When Tess is in there with them, there is peace. She trumps them all and they all find their place. But without Tess, they have never, ever figured it out.
So that was my plan… If the other mares were without a leader and stuck in an endless pattern of mini-coup, they’d eventually fatigue and accept Rojo as their leader.
“Please new horse, please stop this madness!!”
Or that was my hope anyway…
So, I moved Tess into the pony pasture and released the ponies back into their rightful land.
OMG. You’ve never seen more triumphant little men in your lives! OY! The neck snaking and gate chain rattling was epic! The ponies were vindicated! Hallelujah!
Ponies everywhere were bowing their heads…
ROJO JOINS THE MARES
I decided to just do it.
I was going to open the gate and put him in there as if it was no big deal…
After all, I knew Rojo had lived in a herd before. Duh.
And, come to think of it, Sam and Remi both were previously wild mustangs (Sam the Untouchable is still wild, basically). They had been in a wild herd and lived.
Only Gwen was a domestically born mare and she had also lived in my big herd here.
So clearly they all knew how to get along – but would they?
These girls are mean.
Really. I’m not exaggerating. They are a tough bunch. I never worry about them. If a mountain lion came into their field, it would retreat in horror after just one altercation with these gals. I’m telling you…
For example, when Wrigley gets an attitude, I put him in there with them… He begs me not to do it.
WRIG (as I push him into the mare pasture): “Puleeeze, I’ll be good! I’ll do anything! I’ll stand tied like a stone. I won’t bite at your pockets! I won’t even raise my head up to where you can’t reach! Anything but those Witches!”
They scare the bejessus out of him.
–Was Rojo up to the task?
Given the Witches’ circling behavior, I thought they were distracted and ripe for a takeover.
So, I put Rojo in there and told him to mind his manners and remember from whence he’d come…
COOL AS A CUCUMBER.
Before I opened the gate and let in the interloper, I had set out several flakes of hay.
The mares were eating…
Rojo found a pile far away but where he could see the mares and size up the situation.
The mares all saw him. They didn’t move. They didn’t gather and attack like before (hence proving my theory that Tess was the ringleader in the previous ambush…)
After a few minutes, Rojo decided to explore the mares.
He walked up and greeted Gwen.
I held my breath. Gwen can be really, really pushy.
She moved off of the pile and walked over to Sam’s pile.
Sam moved off and walked over to Remi’s pile.
Remi walked off and found a new pile right next to Rojo.
Rojo sniffed Remi and started eating with her.
And that was it.
The circling stopped.
Rojo had picked Remi.
He was the King and she was his Queen.
And that is how it has remained…
Peace in the pasture.
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