The Red Horse Diary #5 – How to keep the bond when there is not enough time to do anything structured…

Lately, I’ve been very busy…  too busy to put in quality riding/training time with Rojo.  However, the FEAR OF REVERSION made me consider alternative activities that would keep my newly tamed Wild Mustang Rojo in his ‘gentled’ state.

Yup, they say that born wild Mustangs will revert or morph or transform – or whatever Wild Mustangs do – if left to their own devices.  The Cowboys say to work them “evr day so they don go back to their ol ways…”.

Now, I don’t know if this Reversion Rumor is true or not, but the fear of any Wild Hairs landing back into the nostrils of my little Rojo has compelled me to not let that happen at any costs!  If I have no time, I have to think of something, anything, to keep the WILD at bay.

It ends up I’m not that creative because the below graphs are my only ideas thus far…

Would he revert to his wild ways?



My first idea for Rojo Reversion Avoidance was to put him in a pasture where he has neighbors but lives alone.  I did this because I wanted to make sure that I was his everything, his focus (does that sound selfish?).

But, now I’m rethinking this…  Sure, he is very happy for me to enter his paddock and that is nice for me… However, on the flip side, he is on the job 24/7.  He can never stand down.  He’s the only watchman.  The safety of the herd rests on his red shoulders – or so he thinks.

Yup, “Previously Wild Mustang Rojo at your service, Ma’am” is his mantra.  He watches the perimeters of the complex as if he was the head of the CIA and the president was visiting.  In fact, a tree fell which obscures his view, so now he requests his meals in a different location so he can still keep watch while he’s eating.  That horse is dedicated.  NOTHING will happen to this herd, not on his watch.

His new eating spot so that he can survey the grounds more clearly... He never quits working. Always on watch.

I gotta put someone in there with him so he can relax… poor guy.  I was worried that perhaps he never slept… but I do see major dirt all over him so I know he lays down.  But, truly, I have to get him some back-up.  He needs a Lieutenant.

I’ll figure that out and fill you in next time.

I had to put this pic in of Rojo - the amazing bodyless horse! I don't know how we managed this shot, but WHERE IS HIS BODY??!



When I don’t groom Rojo and fix his forelock, it parts itself directly down the middle and hangs off both sides.  He looks like Moe from The Three Stooges.  I swear that I giggle every time I see it.  My bad.

To rectify this unfortunate forelock condition, I braid his mane and forelock.  Hubby is totally against this because he thinks it makes Rojo look too girly.  And he’s right… but which is worse?  Girly or MOE?

Anyway, having me at the grooming helm is always a great ‘desensitizing’ lesson because I invariably drop the brushes, twang the comb, spill the detangler, catapult the hoofpick, trip over a cat and at least once stumble over a dirtclod and fall into him.

…a perfect way for 20 minutes to end up as training session – with a pretty outcome!

Rojo's MOE Forelock. (Three Stooges reference)



Another time saving REVERSION AVOIDANCE TRAINING device for us is to simply pull him out of his pasture and hop on.  It is nice to take walks around the ranch with Rojo.  Sometimes we ride bareback (Ouch for us both…  He has a bony spine and I have a bony butt) and other times we walk sidebyside.

I find it interesting that ALL of the gelding around here want a piece of him.

I swear.  I don’t know if it is because he is the newbie and I spend a lot of time with him – or if there is some smack talking going on.  I do not understand why Finn, Slick, Dodger and Wrigley all lunge at the fence when Rojo walks by.  I even put Rojo in with Slick and Dodger thinking that they had shared a fence for so long that all would be OK.  Wrong.  Dodger went apoplectic.   I thought that little pony would explode he was so angry.

Rojo did nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  He just stood there and wondered why the little horse was so upset…

This perplexing Gelding Ostracizing needs to end… I wonder what Dr. Phil would say?  I will tackle this very soon.

That is Finn posturing as we walk by... Why do the geldings all want to challenge him?



Reading and eating together has become my favorite passive pastime with Rojo.  He eats and I read.  Mostly, I feed him special morsels.

The ‘feeding him special morsels’ is my favorite thing to do except I remind myself of a monkey.  I sit there and pull open the flake and with synchronized swimming precision, I dig through that hay like an ape looking for termites.  As I pull out the best leaves and seeds, I collect a little bouquet to feed him in one juicy bite.

The perfect bite.

Rojo knows this behavior and waits until he thinks my stash is good enough and then he noses in and gently snags it from me.  Ahhh, this game never becomes tiring.  I sit there hunched over the flake, excising it with eagle eyes, as my book loses its page marker and falls into the dirt.  Rojo stands over me munching.  His hot breath gets closer and closer and closer until he nabs my fragrant tuft of haybits.  We do this until there are no more haybits to be had.  Then, I rub his little MOEFORELOCK and talk to him sweetly.  He nudges closer and closer… until he is eating as close to me as he possibly can.  I love this.  I absolutely love it.

Aladdin used to do that…, she said with a smile.

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Almost in my lap, he grabs his bite and eats as closely to me as he can... I love that.


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

2 comments have been posted...

  1. Casey O'Connor

    My experience in herd situations is, Dawn, that geldings are men and must mess with each other. Introduce a mare and you’ll have some thundering around while a gelding lays claim but the mare is not bothered. Introduce a gelding and there WILL be battles – they have to establish the new guy’s place in the pecking order. I had a couple of geldings who were very smart and/or intimidating – who walked the edges of the herd sussing it out and two days later, slam bam separated out the mares they wanted and were thereafter left alone. But that’s rare. Put the geldings together and see what happens! You’ll have a whole new appreciation of who is REALLY dominant… and who’s just blustering….

  2. Gaye

    Ah this one is written for me…and hundreds of others who wonder how to keep the bond going. It is my primary gelding who is aloof and if I don’t spend enough time with him, he turns his head and shoulder away when I approach. “Don’t bother,” he thinks. “I know you’re BUSY”, he snorts sarcastically. If I pursue him at that point, he will condescend to some interaction but it takes a long session of sweet talking, rubbing, etc. for his eyes to soften.
    And our oldest gelding has been here for a year. He is STILL ostrasized although they rarely take huge chunks from him anymore. It breaks our hearts to always see him standing alone. I have told him to fight back, especially with the snooty young mare, but he just ambles away. I know herd dynamics are tricky but I never dreamed it wouldn’t resolve better than this after a year! Let us know what you figure out for Rojo to have a companion.

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