Friday, April 29, 2011

A Stirring in the Herd

While in general I am pleased that we are able to board our horses at a place that offers a large pasture and a small herd for the social and physical benefits this affords our horses, every now and then upheaval in the herd causes some issues. Today we found the boys in rather a state. A new (very cute buckskin Quarter Horse) gelding named Cowboy joined the pasture herd this morning, Daisy got moved to the stall lot, and the pregnant mare who's due to foal at any moment got moved to her own lot.

Interestingly, Steen doesn't tend to be hugely bothered by this type of change. When I first got him he was really herd-bound and would get stressed and distracted any time he couldn't see the herd (and want to stay as close to his buddies as possible when he could see them) but over time this problem has all but disappeared. So today Steen was pretty much his usual self.

Bear, on the other hand, was not. One of the women who works at the barn told us she saw Cowboy and Bear having some serious "who's boss" encounters. Bear was completely covered in bites and scrapes. He was also pretty wound up and for once he was the antsy distracted one.

While we were there Gay arrived and discovered that Doc had apparently been involved in some of the warfare as well, even though he lives in a different pasture. He had a large cut on his rear leg between the hock and the coronet that looked like the result of kicking through a fence. So they were out hosing him down and doctoring that while Brian and I groomed and tacked. As if that wasn't enough, it was massively windy.

We'd been planning on riding on the strip, but with Bear's sub-par behavior we changed our plans and went into the outdoor arena. The footing was still wet though, and I was worried we'd tear up the grass so I mostly sat and watched while Brian and Bear worked a few things out. Bear actually was better under saddle then he'd been with just his general manners. After a while we moved to the strip after all, where I trotted Steen around a fair bit and he was absolutely wonderful for me. I was bareback though, and with Bear's behavior not real keen to try to my first outdoor bareback lope of the season.

So I mostly "worked" on Steen's standing (which has improved dramatically the last few weeks) and I watched Bear and Brian and gave the occasional pointer. They did pretty well without my input though, and although Bear was never great he also wasn't ever bad. He's also just looking really good. He's lost a lot of weight (finally) and put on serious muscle and overall just looks and moves like a much younger horse. Hopefully we can keep the weight off him through the summer with consistent exercise.

After our ride we doctored some of Bear's wounds and turned them out again. Hopefully the wind dies down and Cowboy and Bear work out their respective places on the totem pole so we can have some more relaxing rides this weekend.

Horseback hours YTD: 16:25

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