Category Archives: The Red Horse Diaries

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda and a Harley Update!






OK, so I’m kinda eating crow today – many of you gently told me how I could have been much more successful yesterday when introducing Rojo to my mares.  (If you missed my debacle, click here)

I  must admit that your comments, emails, FB missives and forwards were right on point.  I could have done it in a much smarter way.

So, without further ado, here is what I coulda done, shoulda done and woulda done, if I had been a thinking person yesterday.

MY MISTRAKES

Clearly, introducing horses on a wet, miserable, muddy day in a pasture full of hills and slippery slopes was a very bad idea.  One of my biggest fears, as I was slipperysliding to the barn to breakup the fight, was that one of them was going to pull something apart or fracture a leg on the unpredictable ground.

So, I shoulda not done that.

Another huge mistake was introducing him to the two top mares EVEN THOUGH they had been nose to nose (over the fence) for over a month.  I now know that nose to nose is not the same as body to body and they weren’t introduced like I thought they were.  From what I could tell, putting Rojo in with them was a mistake on several levels:

1)  That was THEIR pasture and he was intruding.

2)  I should have introduced him to ONE so that he could have made a friend or understood his rank without having a little henchmare sitting in the wings, ready to step in at any time – which she did.

3)  If I had introduced him to Tess alone and first, she would have carved the way for all the other horses to accept him.

I coulda done that part way better…

Mostly, I should have thought the entire episode through a bit better.   Especially giving Sam and Tess the reward of eating green grass after they kicked the crap out of Rojo.  Of course, I didn’t mean it to be a reward; I just couldn’t think of a better way to separate them fast enough.  My bad.  I’m sure Tess is very pleased with herself right now…

I'd like to think Sam is feeling remorseful after pummeling Rojo, but I doubt it. Here she is, out eating green grass, the reward I inadvertently gave her.

TODAY

Today, after I ate my hearty breakfast of humble pie, I went to the barn and created a different plan with a little more forethought…

My first observations was that Rojo seemed OK in his new pasture but he was showing signs of his WATCHING obsession in this new field as well.  He needed a friend.

So, upon careful consideration, I chose Remi.

Pros:  She is big, can take care of herself, is calm and generally not too mean.  She likes most horses and is fairly giving.

Cons:  She is big, she has a mean rear strike, kept Bodhi the draft horse in line (which is good and bad)  AND, I had Rojo in Remi’s pasture while she was cooling her heels in the mare pasture.

My plan was to put several flakes of choice hay spread around with Rojo.  Remi was already anxious to get out of the mare pasture (she doesn’t like them) so I told her that she was going to be sprung any minute.  She was happy.

I surveyed the flake placement and felt we were OK for two horses to move around each other peacefully while eating hay and not fighting over any particular stack.

Feeling confident but a bit shaky after yesterday, I haltered Remi (she couldn’t put her face into the halter fast enough).  I proceeded to walk her over to her pasture which now contained the interloper, Rojo.  *As an aside, they lived across the fence from each other for 3 months – even though that didn’t help at all yesterday, it couldn’t hurt.

I tried not to show any emotion as I let Remi back into her pasture.

She looked at Rojo and went to a pile of food laying where she likes to eat.

Rojo, like the young punk or savant that he might be, immediately left his pile to go to hers.  AHHHHHHHGH.  I was holding my breath.

Why couldn’t he just let it be?

Anyway, he went to her pile.  Remi gave him the “are you kidding me?” look.  She lifted her big head and swung it at him.

GET BACK AND EAT YOUR OWN DARN PILE,  MISTER.

He didn’t.  (I was still holding my breath.)

Remi swung her big head at him again, a bit more violently this time and pinned her ears and stomped her rear leg.

Rojo ever so slightly leaned away from her.

She swung her big ol’ noggin at him for the last time before she was going to let him have it – and he took a step away.

YAYYYYYYYYY!  Good girl, Remi!

And so they ate leaning away from each other, but not fighting.

The start of a golden friendship…

She swung her big head at him and he stepped over - ever so slightly. She won this round...

I came out a bit later and Rojo was inching his way back over towards her...

 

IS IT ODD?

Is it odd that the only two branded Mustangs here are now living together?

And, is it odd that I feel horrible that Remi is sitting in the shelter as it rains while Rojo is standing in the rain?  There is plenty of room for him in the shelter and she cannot get at him if he goes in there (there is a divider), but he doesn’t know anything about man-made shelters.  He has never used one.

I figure that if Remi learned, so will Rojo – eventually.  I just have to be calm about it.

I did put food in there…

UPDATE ON HARLEY

Harley is feeling really great, gaining weight and has had his feet trimmed!

Unfortunately, they found a odd spot on his bad eye.  The vet is trying a new antibiotic to see if it clears things up.  If not, they will test for cancer again.  I will keep you posted.

Our January Bucket Funder, Harley! Looking good!

Feeling fresh...

He's bigger than the tractor.

 

So stately... We sure hope the spot on his eye isn't more cancer. We will know at the end of the week.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

 

 

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IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME… BATTLE STATIONS!! Red Horse Diary #6.






(TO READ PREVIOUS RED HORSE DIARIES, CLICK HERE.  TO FOLLOW ON FB, CLICK HERE.)

RED HORSE DIARY #6:

“IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME…”

It all started out so innocently…

You see, I felt I needed to move Rojo out of his pasture for several reasons…  First, the rain was coming and there isn’t a shelter in his paddock.  There are a ton of tress, but no man-made shelter.  .

Secondly, he was becoming obsessed.  Rojo would not let go of his paranoia that something was going to get him from the wide open spaces beyond his area.

Actually, I couldn’t blame him. He lived out in the wilds of Nevada until recently.  So, he did have to look out for bad things all the time…  But, I swear to you, he was over the top with this.  It got so bad that he wouldn’t even come to the fence for dinner.  I had to deliver it to him at his sentinel post up by the top of his command.

Thursday was the clincher.  I put Norma in with him to ease his perceived duties and perhaps make him more comfortable.  Instead, he ignored her and carried on with his WATCHING obsession.  To make matter worse, when I did deliver his dinner at his watching spot, he kinda jumped and acted spooky.

Me:  OK.  That’s it.  I’m moving you.  Besides, the rain is coming and you have no shelter.

Rojo:  What is ‘shelter’?

Me:  Something that makes me feel better when it rains on you.  Come with me.

Rojo:  Where are we going?

Me:  To the barn.

Rojo:  GOODY!   I love the barn!  Food everywhere!

Me:  Yup.  And you’ll be in there until I can think of a better idea…

 

Rojo eating at his Command Post where he could watch all four corners of the ranch... He was obsessed.

 

FAST FORWARD TWO DAYS…

So, I had Rojo in the barn.  He had one stall to wander into as well as the entire aisle to move about.  He was happy.

Tess and Sam (the wild one) were just outside the barn in the huge pasture that attaches to the barn.  So, both Sam and Tess could rub noses with Rojo and get to know each other before I released them all together.  Seemed like a fail-safe plan.

I thought this grouping would be good since Tess is the Boss.  No one challenges her.  I concluded that for sure Rojo would be smart about Boss mares since he came from a herd run by mares, right?  You’d think?  And I wasn’t worried about Sam because she had shared a fence with Rojo for a month now and there had been no issue.

OK… so this morning, after 2 days of solid rain and solid Rojo, the barn was a mess.   I wanted Rojo out of there.  It was time to set him free with Tess and Sam.

The sun was shining a bit.  The mares were both eating down in the pasture.  Perfect.  A gentle union between the two mares and little Rojo.

I had one concern and that was the wet ground… It was slippery so I made sure to move Rojo below the slickest parts and then gave him a flake of hay.

Here is Rojo eating happily in the huge mare pasture with Floppy Kitty ready to ambush him from the branch above.

 

IT ALL SEEMED JUST FINE

Here is a photo journal of my stellar idea to put Rojo in with Tess and Sam…

First he found the rolling spot...

Really getting into it...

Getting up!

 

"What?! You should really try rolling, it is great!"

 

Then he notices Tess and quietly goes over to her...

 

AND SHOCK OF SHOCKS... Tess just walked away and gave him her stack. Hmmmmm. (I now know that she was holding a severe grudge.)

 

He sniffs the stalker kitty

 

He tastes a tiny tree as I try to coax him across the stream and into the large portion of the pasture.

He looks my way for encouragement as I call to him.

 

He joins me and we survey the rest of the pasture...

... until Ambush Kitty grabs Shiva who yelps and sends Rojo running and bucking back to his safety zone.

 

I catch up to him as he has an Equine Mineral Water (this is the mineral tub that is now filled with rainwater).

 

He seems contented so I go back to the house.

 

SO, I WENT INSIDE THE HOUSE…

(of course, I didn’t have a camera during this part…)

All of a sudden, I heard horses shrieking like I’ve never heard before.

I practically killed the cat as I raced to the front door, tripping over him and grabbing my shoes in one ungraceful move.  I was out the door and running/sliding towards the barn just as Hubby was emerging from the garage.

“Something bad is happening”, he said observantly.

As I ran to comprehend the scene, I screamed at them so loudly that my voice is hoarse as I write this.  Tess was in a full-on showdown with Rojo.  Both of them were in the GUNFIGHTER position, too close to each other and too close to the fence.  I had visions of my 22 year-old dowager mare slipping and breaking her hip or something equally as horrible.

“OYYYY, STOP NOW, NOOO.  NOOOOOOOOO. DON’T YOU DARE!  NOOOOOOOO”, I shrieked back at them as I tripped and belly slid into the fence.

Tess is an obedient girl and she knew that I was acting very strangely and that I was very, very angry with her.  She knew it was time to be a good girl and walk away – which she did.

But what floored me was that as she passed Sam, who was watching several yards away, it was as if Tess whispered in her ear, “Tag Team, your turn – go get that little soandso!”

In a flash, Sam was on Rojo, kicking and screaming like a banshee!  They were so close, their kicks weren’t really going anywhere but they were rapid fire.  I wasn’t sure who was kicking who or who insulted who or the pecking order or whatever was the issue and I didn’t care.  It just had to stop before one of these previously wild horses was going to fight to the finish of all of us.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!

I finally got myself up and very violently pointed my finger right at Sam.  Sam looked at me and stopped just long enough for Rojo to get into a better retaliation position.

NOOOOOOOOOOO.  STOP IT RIGHT NOW!   S-T-O-P RIGHT NOW!  DON’T YOU DARE MOVE OR I WILL PUMMEL YOU BOTH MYSELF!!

Sam froze in her footsteps.

Rojo looked at me puzzled.

I herded Sam away via the power of my Ninja pointed finger and insane glare.  I pointed and yelled and pointed and moved so that she moved along with me inside the fenceline.  Our little herding dance got her to the back of the barn.  But, like a doofus, Rojo followed her.  So, now I had the Rock’em Sock’em Mustangs at the back of the barn.

Oy.  I opened the barn gate.  I figured Sam would run through and out into the courtyard since she has done this many times when I let them out to eat green grass.  Rojo wouldn’t have ever done this before and I just hoped he wouldn’t follow her.

I called to Sam and showed her the open gate.  Ohhhhh.  The decision was so difficult for her… Should she kick the crap out of Rojo or eat green grass?  Sam puffed up to twice her size and glared at Rojo with superbly pinned ears.  Then, she made her decision and ran full speed right at me.  I opened the gate wide and let her through, shutting it quickly behind her.

Rojo looked at me confused.

I was devastated.  Now who would I put in with Rojo?  The mares were my best idea so far.

Here they are - finally settled after tagteaming poor Rojo. Sam and Tess, the FIGHTING MARES OF GRASS VALLEY - looking all innocent... I'm not even going to remove the branch caught on Sam's tail.

FINALLY

Finally I decided to put the poor ponies and Norma back into the small paddock at the end of the ranch.  I put Rojo in Remi’s pasture.

Everyone else will go back where they were.

Is there a moral to this story?  Maybe… and that is – Even if you think it will be fine, don’t introduce horses on a very wet day…

 

Poor Rojo, moved again... A smaller, but safer pasture.

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!