How many times have we heard these kinds of phrases?…
“Oh, she’s a good kid, just running with the wrong crowd.”
“He never did that before he started hanging out with so-and-so…”
“Good fences make better neighbors…”
That’s what I want to talk about today – Groups.
GROUPS THAT WORK.
I have 12 horses here.
They all cannot run in a herd together.
Well, they could… if I wanted to deal with the aftermath. Eventually, the calamity and dust would settle and some horses would be on top, some would be on the bottom and several would probably be licking their wounds in a heap somewhere where I couldn’t retrieve them easily…
To be honest, I don’t want the vet bills or broken fences.
So, I keep them in groups.
Groups that work.
We’ve all been to boarding facilities where all the mares run together and all the geldings run together. But, they aren’t mixed.
For me around here, I just figure out who likes who – and put them together.
I used to try to make them get along, and eventually they did come up with some sort of separate peace… but now, I feel I’d rather foster the bonds.
It is my observation that horses are a lot like humans. They create cliques and have definite feelings about everyone in their office space, so to speak.
And, if you observe, you can see the dynamics play out over e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
“That is my water.”
“I was here first.”
“I’m the boss. Leave. Now!”
“I like this spot. Get out.”
“That is my hay – but you can share…”
You know what I mean. They are constantly relating to each other.
MISTAKES I’VE MADE
I used to put Bodhi next to the ponies because it was the right sized pasture for him.
He broke every fence board.
We strung hotwire.
He went right through it.
The ponies taunted him. They were relentless.
“Hey, Fattie, Hey big maaaaaaan. Wanna piece of the Pony? C’mon Baby Huey!…”
Bodhi couldn’t take the harassing. He went NUTS!
And I kept trying to make it work.
As soon as I moved him up next to Rojo, he was happy. No broken fences.
Gwen doesn’t get along with mares. She’s a guy’s gal. Kinda like Rizzo…
I kept trying to make her fit in with the other mares.
She wanted to be with the horse that was let out most often. That was her thing.
So, I put her in with Bodhi and he chased her nonstop.
Next, I put her in with the ponies and it was perfect.
FINN, BG AND WRIGLEY
Finn cannot be with another gelding. He just cannot take the competition. It is full on WAR if he has to share with any gelding.
But Wrigley doesn’t count.
So, they all get along like three peas in a pod.
Actually, they get along like two planet that orbit each other (Finn and BG) with a crazy flurry of meteorites constantly flinging themselves at the pair (Wrigley).
But, it works.
They keep Wrigley in line. Wrigley keeps them moving…
WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT ‘GROUPS’?
Well… it is very important to look and watch.
Why cause any unnecessary injury or emotional strain? Horses get nervous and upset with their living arrangements, just like we do.
But, the deeper and more current reason I am thinking of all of this is because of Mayla.
Mayla is the littermate of Scout and Atticus. When Atticus passed suddenly, we adopted Mayla from her owner who could no longer house her. They were 5 months old.
Now, both Scout and Mayla are just over a year old.
And, suddenly, they were both running with the wrong crowd – becoming bad influences on each other.
We loved them so much, we kept improvising and changing things around here to accommodate the issues.
Until we couldn’t any more.
Mayla liked to chase the horses. She taught Scout.
They both chased Gwen. She slipped and fell badly. That is how she tore her Suspensory.
Gwen will be fine…
But that behavior was unacceptable and we couldn’t stop it.
So, I called her previous owner and asked if his situation had improved and would he like Mayla back.
Luckily for us all, his situation had improved tremendously. Yes! He wanted his Mayla back.
And so it was to be.
Mayla blessed us for 7 months. She was a great playmate for Scout – until she wasn’t.
And now Mayla is living in Tahoe and going to the beach everyday with the Dad she loved so much… and our household has gone back to normal.
They weren’t bad girls, just bad influences… put those two together and… well, you know…