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.


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, 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.


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 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…


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!




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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

4 comments have been posted...

  1. Kitty Bo

    And Rojo’s just a baby, 4 years old, isn’t he? No wonder he was obsessing about watching. When I purchased a 4 year old Arabian, his run in stall was on the end. Khanalee, the herd leader, had the first one, then old Jim Bob the grade horse in the middle, then Maguire ended up w/ the end one. He was nervous there because he felt exposed. He wanted to go in w/ old Jim Bob. Maguire, even up to the age of 6, wouldn’t go through a gate first. Khanalee, the herd leader, had to go first. Funny thing was, was that Khanalee really was a wuss, but ended up as herd leader when the the top mare was gone.

    I’ve seen young horses kinda sidle up to another one, ignoring warning posturing, just to see how serious it is. Horses know how to be horses better than we humans know how to be humans.

  2. Joanie

    Don’t be so hard on yourself…we live and we learn…and some times we think we have it figured out, and sometimes our animals are smarter than we are and surprise us. Glad it seems to be working out. Maybe the 2 mustangs have some kind of understanding more so than our domesticated horses do.

    I am just glad none of them were hurt…horses have their own opinions just like us humans!

  3. Kitty Bo

    Is there any bigger soap opera around than our critters? When My kids were growing up, we used to have all kinds of soap operas going on w/ our chickens, some of whom lived down by the barn, and some of whom lived up here by the house, and when the banties were having babies, we’d have what we called the Mommy Wars, mama banties taking on mama banties. And we wonder that humans can’t get along.
    But we live and we learn, and we are learning from your experiences, so thank you for sharing. I wonder if Rojo was testing the waters this time because he knows what it takes to survive—some degree of acceptance around the food, even if you risk a kick or two. ah, horses…..

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *