Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mustang Mayhem

3 + 1 = change

Big change, when it comes to adding another horse into the mix.

It's a slow, painstakingly slow, process.

A week ago Friday, we added another horse.

But it wasn't just any horse. 

It was Traveler, who had been here before, years ago, for a short period of time.

We weren't anticipating much reaction, as he knew all our horses. 
Nothing much had changed, except the fact that 4 years had passed...
and our young horses had grown into a mature herd.

It started with our good friend, with a trailer, as we don't own one.

Once a horse is at our place, if he leaves, he leaves by hoof power.

I was excited, following behind, as we traveled deep into the Jordan Valley and beyond.

Upon arriving, we loaded Traveler without incident and began our trek home. 
Coming home less than an hour later, our 3 horses were immediately on alert,
seeing the trailer pull down our long drive.

It resulted in a whinny or two, (or three) as the truck pulled to a stop.

With the assistance of Russ, Traveler slowly exited the trailer without incident or concern.

And began to become familiar with his new surroundings.

Once on terra firma, 
a cough the size of Texas prompted an emergency
Friday night visit from Chris Randall, DVM, our new large animal vet.

Medications were dispensed, injection given, and worries alleviated.

We were assured Traveler wasn't contagious, which was our first concern.

So, with a green light, the introductions of the geldings began.

First, Raz...our largest horse, who is Russ' main riding horse, and work-horse-in-training.

Then Nauish, our youngster of the crowd, another BLM Mustang, who is still in training.

Perhaps they are sharing secrets of their Mustang heritage.

Then Buck, the smallest and oldest, and our first horse ever, at Russ-Stick Acres.

Then, it was time to introduce Traveler to our fence boundary.

Even though he had been here for a short period of time, 4 years ago, he needed reminders.

We didn't want the excitement of the increased herd to plow a horse through the fence.

Unknowingly or otherwise.

It is always worth the effort when it comes to the safety of horses.

The excitement grew as the horses realized they were growing in numbers.

Our 3 horses were a cohesive unit.  Would they accept a 4th horse?

Once Traveler was in "their" area, on Saturday, the introductions continued.

Note...the quickly constructed shelter from the other round pen was for naught.
The construction took place due to his arriving ill,
keeping us busy while waiting for the vet to arrive,
with the possibility of Traveler being quarantined looming before us.

Now in the new area with the other horses nearby,
circling the round pen like whirling dervishes,
it was made obvious more fencing would need to be in place.
Introductions weren't going as well as we had hoped.

Wire, flags, posts, dust, dirt, sweat, missed anticipated grilled Saturday dinner,
wiped brows, sore backs, and hours later, it was accomplished.

A new area, all his own, which also included the round pen. 
The result ~ flagged fencing that kept Traveler a wire away from the 3 other horses.

Traveler would be near the other horses, but separate. 
Only able to chat over the pink-flagged single wire fence.

Sunday, fine. 
Monday, fine. 
Fence talk was working.
Monday night...not fine.
Chaos and destruction ensued.
Traveler decided he had been separate long enough. 
During the night he busted down a gate,
and tore through several strands of hot electric wire.
Not just in one section, but in several spots, decimating the existing fencing.
By early Monday morning, his task was complete. 
He got his way, as former band stallions often do.
He was in with the other horses, up close and personal, whether they liked it or not.
They didn't.
Russ, upon getting his coffee early Tuesday morning,
stood in the window to survey our place,
as he does every morning with coffee cup in hand,
only to see a gate down, and ripped out fencing lying crumpled on the ground. 

The lightening-laden, thunder-clap Tuesday morning,
all day,
and well into the early evening hours, 
was spent reconstructing fences by Russ, donned in rain gear,
and no doubt sweat,
brought on by hard work.

One huge plus, our trio didn't leave.
In addition, Traveler didn't leave the multiple gaps of freedom, 
so hastily provided by his efforts. 

The horses role? 
They were coping with their new untimely, unwanted guest.

Lots of air kicks, snaking of heads, avoidance, confrontation,
strikes with front feet, rump bites,
and on and on.
Luckily, and surprisingly, this former band stallion, Traveler, didn't leave a mark. 
Nor did he have any marks from the trio.
And finally, things slowly settled down a tad.

The struggle of who's the boss continues a week later, but with less fanfare.
Still the snaking, the air kicks, and the bites on the rump.  But less frequent.
And more time spent on snagging new sweet grasses, and enjoying the weather changes.

We know that spring will roll into summer,
and the decision of who's in charge will still be played out, Mustang style.

Until tomorrow, God willing.


Changes in the wind said...

Never thought about there being a pecking order with horses....maybe that is because they are mustangs? I have learned this too is true with rabbits and they will fight badly too.

Sherry Sutherby said...

All horses...big and small. :) Yes, our free-ranging rabbits are very territorial. It's like "West Side Story" some nights... We find it with all animals, humans too, a distinct pecking order exists. Some are just more subtle than others.

Sherri B. said...

It sounds like, if horses want something bad enough, they will get it one way or another...And then they look so sweet.

Laura said...

What an adventure, Sherry! Your horses are so you must love spending time with them. Isn't it amazing how we can see "human qualities" in their behavior.

Hope you are all having a very blessed weekend,

Farmchick said...

Glad things are settling down. Animals, along with people, have a mind of their own.

Sherry Sutherby said...

Thank you ~ yes, we enjoy them immensely. :) We always tell folks, if you can't handle a horse from the ground, don't even think of getting on their back. It's a 1000# animal, and they will win. That's why training is so important. As for Traveler, he just wanted to be with the herd. Most horses are herd-bound, and he's even more so, as he was on the range for many years.

pilgrimscottage said...

How so interesting! I suppose pecking order is just about in every spieces. Someone has to be the leader to keep order. Thanks for the "show". Your horses are beautiful!

Sue said...

I really enjoy seeing how much care you use working with the horses. We have neighbors that just put them in a pen and once in awhile pat em on the head. That's about the extent of it. Then, when they act up, these folks yell at them and wonder why they don't "behave". Horses require a LOT of work and dedication. You obviously care greatly for your animals.

Kandi said...

Love your writings Sherry, so vivid and the pictures too!! So pleased to be your new vet!

Sherry Sutherby said...

Thank you Kandi ~ we're excited to have a top quality DVM right in our backyard...should the need arise! Thank you Sue, a well-trained horse is a safe horse too. That's too much power to be unruly. Pilgrims Cottage ~ you are welcome. Stay tuned to see our Buck in his new boots...yes, orthopedic (in lieu of shoes) for horses.

Edward said...

Hello Sherri B. told me about your blog, your horses all look very nice, I really like the chestnut one with the blazes. We too have just recently introduced a new equine to our herd, he is a colt coming on to a year old now.

Mrs. M. said...

This reminds me of ourselves in a way. How we can not wait until the time is right, but force ourselves into others lives because we think they are ready.

It takes time and lots of patience for others to accept us.

Wise examples from timeless creatures.

Mrs. M.