Saturday, June 1, 2013

Turnout Results

This morning I let Rock out with the rest of the herd under my supervision.  Just like the little boy he is, he exuberantly trotted across the paddock to join the other horses and Gabbrielle quickly put him in his place by chasing him off.  Rock walked to the far side of the paddock and laid down.  Everything was cool until he woke up and tried approaching the herd again.  Once again Gabbrielle charged him, but this time spun around and kicked the air by his head.  Unfortunately, Rock wasn't deterred and still tried to approach.  Gabbrielle didn't give a warning kick after that.  She kicked him square on the hip.  She didn't break any skin, but I removed him from the paddock since things were getting out of hand.

Much of what I know about herd dynamics I learned from the Cloud documentaries.  I was hoping that Rock would wait for an invitation to approach in order to avoid further violence.  My husband took him for a walk, and I tried turning them out under supervision again after lunch.  This time everyone's bellies were full and it was about 108 degrees, so Rock just moseyed on out of the barn and rolled on his side in the sand for a long, long, long nap.

I think all the stress of the past week of having a new home and being around new people and horses finally caught up with him.  He slept all afternoon.  The other horses milled about around him.  Bombay did poke Rock's butt with his nose, but I told him to leave him be.

When Rock got up, Gabbrielle immediately charged him again and he respectfully ran off.  The horses let him get about this close...

Gabbrielle started to make another move, but Lostine blocked her.  Then Bombay tried to charge, and Lostine blocked him as well.  That's what I was waiting for.  Once Lostine understands how I want the other horses to behave, she helps me enforce that behavior.  She's started to treat Rock like he's one of her babies, so as long as she's not distracted by food, she'll stand up for him.

A while later, Rock tried to engage Bombay and Gabbrielle in play.  First, he went to the water trough and blew bubbles, but they ignored that.  Then he picked up the Jolly Ball and swung it around with his teeth.

I think someone taught him to play soccer, because he also likes to kick the Jolly Ball around with his hooves.  He performs some fairly intricate moves.  Bombay responded by ripping Gabbrielle's fly mask off her face and swinging it in circles...

I was hoping that Rock and Bombay were playing side by side the way toddlers do before they mature enough to learn how to play together, but I knew it was more likely that they were two males having a pissing match over Gabbrielle.

The raven couple has been hanging out in the barn, and one of them dropped a feather.  Rock found it...

I thought about collecting feathers and tying them to his mane to make him look like a Native pony.

I love his mane.  It is black with streaks of red.  Women pay a lot of money to get highlights like those in a salon.

Rock is locked up again tonight because I want to sleep and don't need to be worrying about who is kicking who out there.  The horses have to get to the point where all of them have bonded before I'll leave them turned out together at night.

My husband has been digging up rocks and bushes on the unused part of our acreage to prepare for installing a 60-foot round pen.  Here he is dragging the ground.  It will be nice to have a place to separate the horses.  Right now when someone rides in the arena, we have to lock all the other horses up in stalls.  They are 16x16 foot stalls, but I still feel bad that they get stuck in there for several hours.


fernvalley01 said...

it just takes the time it takes, nice that Lostine is helping

Sam said...

It's always hard to introduce a new horse. Have you thought about trailering them? Even if it is jsut a few miles. It's amazing how quickly they will bond in the trailer. We did that years ago with a mare that was very antisocial. We put her in with a new horse, trailered them for a bit, and when we unloaded them they were great friends. LOL - just an idea.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm not worried. I think everything is right on track with the timing and behaviors. The only reason why I'm posting about it is because people have asked me to report on how the herd integration process is going. I'm a very patient person.

achieve1dream said...

I'm back! I'm so behind on your blog! It said I have ninety posts to read eeek!! I will get caught up though. I may not comment on every post like I normally do, but I am reading I promise!

Rock sounds like such a character! I look forward to learning more about him as I catch up on your blog.