Category Archives: The Red Horse Diaries

RED HORSE DIARY #8: ONE MARE IS GOOD BUT THREE MARES IS MUCH BETTER! ROJO PROCURES A HAREM.






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.

Rojo. (Clearly he has adjusted to having a human nearby...)

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?

A dilemma.

As you may have read in a previous post, the last time I tried to put Rojo in with the mares, they attacked him.

Hmmmmmmm.

The ponies running amok in their Shetland Revolution to regain their pasture!

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.

Hmmmmm.

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…).

This is Tess, the Grand Dam, standing in front of the barn window she had jimmied open so she could eat the entire bale that was sitting behind the door...

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…

Rojo in the rear... inching up to the girls.

 

PONY JUBILATION

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…

Witches.

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.

Heh Heh.

–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…

Rojo greets Gwen...

 

Gwen moves off...

 

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…

Gwen moves Sam

 

Sam moves Remi...

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.

Remi joins Rojo in what was Gwen's original pile...

 

New Best Friends...

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.

The harem... Rojo is on the far right.

 

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RED HORSE DIARY #7: His own little herd…






As I’ve said (grumbled) in several posts this past month… (or longer), I’m in school again, working, working, studying, doing house stuff/chores and then studying.  Blech.  Yuk.  Yes, it is for my betterment but right now, YUK.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve had little time to work with Rojo, my prisoner trained marvelous mistake Mustang.

Well, he isn’t a mistake, it was just that I made a mistake while bidding and ended up with him even though I had no intention of adopting another horse.  In fact, I felt all sweaty and kinda nauseous afterwards.  WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!

But, as soon as I got next to him and saw his enormous kind eyes and smelled his sweet cheeks, I was a goner.  He is wonderful.

So, what’s new with my red horse, you ask?…

(If you’d like to read about his story or any of the previous Red Horse Diaries, click here.)

MAYHEM AND FOOLISHNESS

I left off when I made the awful mistake of putting him in with the mares…  I figured that since they had been across the fence from each other for a few month with no drama, everything would be OK.

I was wrong.

The mares took their turns at mini 15-second cage fighting and then would switch off.  I knew this was going to end badly so I quickly opened the gate and let the mares rush out onto our lawn – Hubby was not happy about that.

Once the mares were blissfully grazing and had forgotten all about Rojo, I stealthly moved him into what was Remi’s pasture – next to the ponies and Norma.

I know he and Norma get along… the ponies, not so much.

Anyway, the object of the game was to keep everyone safe.  At this point, having him alone was my best idea so far.  After all, since he has been alone, he is really loving when he sees me… which is probably selfish of me but it felt good.  But, down deep, I wanted him to have a herdie.  I just needed to figure out who.  Obviously, the ‘throwing him into the herd and letting them work it out’ wasn’t working for me.

Sweet Rojo.

SENTRY DUTY HAS GOT TO END.

The whole reason I wanted to put Rojo in with others is because when he is alone, he become SUPER SENTRY.  In fact, the first month I had him, I never saw him lay down.  He was dirty, but I never actually saw him get dirty.  He could have just been rolling… no nap time whatsoever.

And, worse than not laying down, he was becoming increasingly more nervous.  I’d see him pace across the highest area of the pasture patrolling the outskirts of the ranch.  He was actually becoming haggard looking – if that is possible for a horse…  This wasn’t good.  The poor guy was obsessing.

He likes Norma. The ponies - not so much...

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

My thought was that I had put him alone in my first pasture which backs against oblivion (barren acreage next door) and then I switched him to another pasture which backs against the top side of the property – with wild stuff beyond (neighbor’s empty acreage).

It felt to me like he was fretting and overwhelmed with having to patrol these non-occupied areas.  He was on the fringe and he felt insecure.

That is why I decided to move him with the mares – which didn’t work at all.  So, now he was alone in a MIDDLE pasture.

And then the pacing started again… it wasn’t as bad, but he was Mr. Alert again.  Not sleeping on the job.

So, I had to find him a friend…

Which brings us up to date.

Hmmmmm.

Who would be the sacrificial lamb that I would remove from his/her solid herd to throw her/him in with the new guy?

At first, they would lay down together, but far apart...

 

Then much closer... I snapped this as Rojo was just getting up.

 

Remi likes all the food and Rojo likes the company.

 

REMI TO THE RESCUE

Remi is my Mustang mare who has been gentled for about 8 years now.  She is solid as a rock and very sweet.  Oh, and she’s big.  In fact, I call her my Henchmare because she is such a bruiser.

Anyway, Remi really loved the pasture that Rojo now took from her and she wanted back in.  So, I let her – and held my breath.

To my surprise, she entered and was just so happy to be back home that she let him dominate her!

ROJO:  Who are you and what are you doing in my pasture?

WISE REMI:  It is a lovely pasture isn’t it.  May we share it?

ROJO:  OK, but I’m Boss around here and I’m so special that Human gives me more food than anyone else.

WISE REMI:  Ohhhh, I hadn’t noticed…  <wink>

 

No matter if Rojo thinks he is the boss, the real power is with the mare because for the very first time, I saw Rojo laying down.

He took the longest nap in Mustang history, I swear.  Remi just stood nearby and kept watch while she ate.  Remi’s been here done that for a while now.  She has no worries.

Remi puts Rojo at ease.

Rojo refused to use a shelter until Remi showed him the way...

Obviously, he feels very secure to turn his butt to the outside.

MUSTANGYNESS?

I do have to say that it is rather odd that out of all the horses here, the two Mustangs – the two branded horses – live together.  Do they have some sort of kindred spirit or familiar trauma (helicopter round-up)?  Do they sit around the shelter and reflect on the good ol’ days when they were free?

Or, do they just ‘get’ one another because they have similar backgrounds?

Whatever the chemistry, they are buddies.  He thinks he is the herd sire and she is fine with that as long as she has enough food.  Perfect.

Rojo has even become curious about the dogs.

REMI’S TIME-OUTS

Oddly, Both Remi and Rojo prefer smaller pastures.  It must give them security.  Dunno.  None of the other horses prefer the smaller pastures.  No Way!

Anyway, it took me a year or so for Remi to come out of her pasture and eat the green grass around the interior of the ranch.  She wouldn’t leave the security of her fenceline unless I was leading her.

Rojo is the same.  If I open the gate to let Remi out (which she now looooves), he will hold back and stay inside their pasture.

But, it kinda works for both Remi and me…  She gets a break from him to visit her other buddies and Rojo again looks to me for comfort – which I looooove.

Yup, I find myself letting Remi out more just so that I can slip into their pasture and have some alone time with sweet Rojo.

Even though I’d selfishly prefer for him to be alone so that he will bond with me more, it is way better to see him thrive with his new herdie.  He looks and feels like he is finally settled and that is the very best feeling of all.

A new herd of two... By the looks of the fence, someone is still kicking at Rojo and I'm fairly certain I know who it (they) are... ponies!

 

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