The Pasture Barn-Dance… ‘Swing yur partners, do si do and promenade!’


The Pasture Barn-Dance… ‘Swing yur partners, do si do and promenade!’

It is so peaceful in the Kingdom when all the horses get along and each pasture is perfectly balanced with the exact correct mix of equine friends.  There’s no fighting; everyone eats their own food. Pasturemates grooms each other.  Gate entries and exits are easy.  No pushing, no shoving, no screaming… When there is a calm in the Kingdom, you look out over your pastures and sigh happily.  Ahhhhhh

All is right with the world.


OK, well, have you ever had to mix it up, pasturewise, and then found yourself in the Rubix Cube Hell of  “now who goes with who” challenge?  Oy.  I’m in that right now.


The cause of this massive mess-up is Norma.  Norma foundered this winter (from green grass) and has been living in the barn for the past 3 months.

Previous to her mishap, Norma spent the last 14 years with the Shetlands in the smallest pasture.  I figured that they’re all small so all three in the smaller pasture would be OK as long as they got out to graze/roam on the nice lawns.

Well, that free roam on the nice lawns is what led to Norma’s founder.  So, no more of that.

What do I do now?  Do I put Norma back in with her boys and then torment her as they go out to graze and she doesn’t.  She’d just have to watch from the Gates of Small Pasture, crying softly and wondering why I hate her so…  Do I get her another grazing muzzle which did nothing but make her not move for three hours.  I swear, they should call those things “Statue Muzzles” because that is what I got when I put it on her.  Donkey Statue.

Do I put Norma in with any of the other horses?  Well, maybe … but who?

This is how it all began…

These three are like peas in a pod


You’d think it would be easy to figure out.  I’ve got 11 horses and 6 pastures (but one is haunted – or something because they all hate it – so I really only have 5 pastures…), how hard could this be?

But there are so many things to consider!  In fact, it is so confusing, I don’t even know how to structure this post to explain it…


Now, this is easy.  It takes about an hour to figure out who likes who.  Basically, decide if you are brave enough to introduce them over the fence.  If you are brave and do the fence meetngreet,  you will discover that they are either at each others’ throats, or after a squeal or two, are grazing nose to nose.

Note:  I know what you are thinking.  You think that if horses are put in next-door pastures, you can tell if they get along or not.   Not true.  I put Bodhi (Draft) and Dodger (Shetland) next to each other for a year.  A YEAR.  Nothing ever happened.  So, I opened the gate between them and it was WW3!  An entire year of slow boiling animosity erupted for both of them.



(Squeal, kickity buck, buckity buckky buck, whackity whack, scream, bite, snarl, snake neck…)

Good thing Dodger slid between Bodhi’s legs as he was backing and kicking for all he was worth.  Bodhi tried to grab Dodger’s mane as the pony vanished beneath his belly.  I was yelling and screaming as I stumbley-ran back over the uneven pasture, waving my arms and resembling a scarecrow in a tornado.

Luckily, my running like a Banshee was more interesting than fighting, so they stopped long enough for me to break it up.

Poor Bodhi… here he is and no one is lining the fences to see him…


OK, ‘who goes with who’ also can be mingled with ‘who likes who’.  I know I know, why am I giving them a choice?  Well, because I’d like the choice.  I couldn’t even think of having to spend one more moment with my ex-boss.  So, if I was trapped in a paddock with him – well, I’d rather watch HR Puffinstuff on a continuous loop.

Also, it makes me so sad when I walk outside to view a pasture and I see one horse in a corner with his nose resting on a fenceboard and the other horse by the gate, pleading to be anywhere but trapped with ‘Norse (nerd horse) over there with his nose in the fenceboard’.

Remi is showing me that she likes Gwen…


OK, again, this seems easy.  Some pastures have bigger shelter, some are sloped, some are near the barn, some are bigger than the others and one is attached (through the Hallelujah Gate) to my neighbor’s property.  Lots of variation.  I should be able to come up with a plan.  You’d think…

It is that exact variation that muddies the waters for me.

You see, not only do I need to consider the equine personalities, the topographical variations of the landscapes and shelters, but I also need to think about ‘who likes which pasture’?  Yup, I know that you are thinking I’ve gone off my rocker here… but some of them definitely prefer certain pastures.

For example, Remi will not stay in any pasture other than the front pasture.  If I lead her into any other pasture, she will sniff around for one second and then go ballistic.

I’ve tried to leave her there to just ‘get used to it’ and found that she would rather ‘just break it’ – the fence, that is – and go back to her own hood.  (I guess I showed her on that one…)

Norma is showing me what she thinks of this pasture.


We all know that to make a decision, you have to nail something to the wall first.  So, I decided that Momma Tess has to be in the barn pasture because I have to keep an eye on her.

If I do that, then Sam should go in with her since Sam is wild and I can get her into a stall in an emergency if I have her in the barn pasture.  OK, that’s 2.  However, this pasture is huge so someone else should go in there.  (This leave one open space- or two – for this pasture.)

The next nail would be Remi as we have already discussed, she can only live in the front pasture or else she will break out of whatever pasture she is in and go back to the front pasture. (This leaves room for one horse in with her.)

The next nail would be FinnandBG.  Finn and BG are always together.  Actually, Finn is always with BG however she would be just fine without him. That is all besides the point.  Finn and BG are in the largest pasture because they are well behaved and can venture through the Hallelujah Gate and have play dates in my neighbor’s grassy acreage without creating any mayhem.

So, that decides that.  Finn and BG in the big pasture.

Good.  I’ve placed 5.


That leaves Bodhi, the Shetlands, Norma, Gwen and Wrigley.  6 horses to place.

Bodhi:  No one wants to be with Bodhi but he wants to be with everyone.  He is truly Baby Huey.  The issue with him is that he is too big for his own good.  He’s annoying even though he is just trying to be friendly.  You know the type.  He would fit right into any office sitcom or local bar.

Anyway, the other kinda untoward habit of Bodhi’s is that he will schlorp the water.  I have no idea what he does but the water is just a horse-spittle mess after every meal.  He doesn’t dunk, he schlorps.  It is as if he flosses with his water after every bite.  Yuk.

All the other horses that I put in with him just look at me and plead, “Ewwwww, look at what he does with the water!  Do I have to live with him?  Eeeeeee!  Gross.”

So, I tried putting him alone in the small pasture – just to try it out.  For a whole week, he was in there alone.  And for an entire week, he didn’t move from the gate.  Occasionally, I saw him walk to the water which was 10 feet away, but literally, he didn’t move.  Have you ever seen a grown Draft horse cry?

I feel awful leaving him alone and I feel guilty making anyone dorm with him…  Dilemma #1.

The Shetlands: These guys are a bit too tinybadass for their own good.  Norma has figured them out and she isn’t bothered by them (in fact she loves them).  And, to her credit, she doesn’t take any ponycrap.  However, most of the other horses feel totally aggravated to have two littleman complexes around. So, the ponies are good with Norma and Gwen (Gwen likes everyone) and that’s about it.

But, the ponies need to graze and Norma cannot.  Dilemma #2.

Norma: Norma gets along with everyone although not everyone is happy with a donkey…  However, as we’ve stated before, she cannot graze and that is a bummer for her pasturemate(s) because that means they aren’t let out either.  Or if they are let out without Norma, Norma hates my guts and if you’ve ever been stared down by a donkey you won’t do it (whatever infraction) again…  Dilemma #3.

Gwen: Gwen can be with anyone.  She is tough but not mean.  She adjusts well and isn’t effected by much.  However, because she is such a good girl, I really don’t want to punish her good behavior by making her live with Bodhi (she is the one who pointed out to me how messy he is with his water…).  Gwen just wants to be with whomever gets let out the most.  And, right now, that would be Momma Tess and Sam.  So, I think she should stay there.  Horse #6 placed.

Wrigley: Oy.  Poor Wrigley.  He means well but he is totally irritating.  Coming 3 is a tough age for a very slow to mature powerhouse.  He is all muscle and no brain.  I swear, a little thing like a branch falling will set this young man off into fits of tail flagging and pasture circling for hours.  Every single thing is a new excuse to rip up the pasture.  He makes them all crazy and all he wants to do is play.

I cannot put him with his mother because she never reprimands him but kills anyone who dares put him in his place.  Luckily, BG kinda tolerates Wrigley so I will put him in with them.  As long as he steers clear of Finn (Wrigley can run away much faster than Finn can run after him), Wrig, Finn and BG can eat the neighbor’s yard and live somewhat harmoniously.  Good.  That takes care of horse #7.

I still have no idea what to do with Remi and the ponies/Norma…

Poor Wrigley… the only youngster and he bugs everyone.


After all the deliberation, I ended up putting everyone where they were previous to Norma’s illness.  I couldn’t figure out how to change anything so I decided to just keep it the same.  The ponies and Norma in the small pasture, Poor Remi and Bodhi next to them.  Gwen, Sam and Momma Tess in the barn pasture and Wrig, Finn and BG in the upper pasture.

But, I just couldn’t bear making the ponies stay in all the time.  So after all of that, I’ve decided to order one of these GreenGuard Grazing muzzles from the UK.  It is ‘improved’ from all that I have tried because the airholes are bigger and there is less plastic.  Someone told me to spray lavender oil inside of it to take away the awful rubber smell.  Anyway, it is incredibly expensive coming from Europe, but I need to find something that doesn’t turn her into a donkey statue.  Most likely, it will be as ineffective as all the other grazing muzzles and I will have thrown away my money in a London trash bin.  However, if it works, I’ll let you know.

Greenguard Grazing Muzzle


After all that intense thought… Remi broke out from being with Bodhi and landed herself into the barn.

Yikes.  I guess the Bodhi’s spitwater was even too much for Remi and she left her secure front pasture for the barn…


As I go to sleep tonight, I know that Remi has sequestered herself in the barn for the first time ever.  I didn’t think Bodhi was that bad.  But, she’s making me come up with a schlorping solution…  and I think I’ve found it.  As long as I have miles of hose, I can make Bodhi walk so far to the trough that he won’t feel much like schlorping. Now all I gotta do is find a shady spot for the trough and run 200′ of hose…

Swing your pardner, do si do, allemande to the left and promenade!…

Remi escaped from Bodhi and put herself into the barn for the evening.


CLICK IMAGE to see new artisan jewelry created daily for MT!  THANK YOU!

CLICK IMAGE to see new artisan jewelry created daily for MT! THANK YOU!

Mama Tess’ Treasure Chest Opens!  (Layaway available if you love this piece! – email me)

Today we have this amazing and unique crystal drop pendant from Tess’ artist friend in Poland! It is a beautiful raw crystal framed in the Tiffany style with eco-friendly tin.  Beautiful.  The pendant itself is weighty and 2″ tall!  The chain is 32″.   I love this piece!

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2 comments have been posted...

  1. Linda Horn

    If that medieval-looking contraption doesn’t work, do you think Norma would benefit from (or tolerate!) a donkey companion on a drylot, with the Shetlands in a small pasture by themselves? I guess that would require more fencing.

    I wonder what’s going on in the “haunted” pasture. Maybe something to do with a smell? Have you ever taken down some of the fencing between that one and another to see if they’d cross into it? Wierd!

    Poor Bodhi! I’ve know some drafts and draft-crosses who never fit in with “regular-sized” horses, unless they grew up with those specific animals. And they constantly played in their water. Their troughs were always the lowest and the worst. Another “human” irritation – we couldn’t leave when doing a fill-up, because they’d pull out the hose and wave it around, soaking everything and everyone within reach. VERY naughty!

  2. Miss Jan

    Two things be sure that if you use a grazing muzzle it is attached to a breakaway safety halter. Just sayin’….Also check safergrass dot org if you haven’t already, for some really effective grazing protocols – which are probably exactly the opposite of what we were all told about grazing metabolic horses even as recently as ten years ago! For Norma you might want to look into feeding a supplement called “Remission”. No, I’m not a dealer or any kind of seller for this. Got the recommendation from my farrier who specializes in founder cases. For a year now my foundered mini gelding has been on it – he has basically perfect feet now but a year ago he was likely a candidate for euthanasia. We trim every five weeks religiously and at his recent trims – farrier says “amazing”. His admittedly low-degree rotation hasn’t increased, his laminal lines have returned to normal, never any heat in the feet even during the height of grass season albeit he is on strict turnout and then only in the “sacrifice paddock” which has minimal grass – best of all he is not just pasture sound he is performance sound and has not taken a single sore step since about the first month a year ago when I started him on the Remission. It isn’t even expensive esp. for just one horse or donkey.

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