The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Drama and Developments

So this happened: wild dogs killed a horse at our barn here (welcome to Texas). Not one of mine - a mare, one of a group of three horses retired to pasture. I found the horse because of the vultures already swarming, and discovered the wild dogs because one of the other horses told me when I went to check up on him. He gave a tiny gesture with his head - I looked in that direction and saw two of what I thought must be the biggest coyotes in the land. Further reflection caused me (and others when I described what I saw) to think they must be feral or stray dogs - their color was too monochrome and their size too large for coyotes. I saw one of them a week later also.

The barn owners are installing a game camera to see if these felons are still in the area, and we also moved the victim's pasture mates and my horses (who were in the field next door) to a location closer to the barn and house. If the dogs are still around, they'll try to shoot them - or (last resort) use humane traps. These are not ideal, as random innocent coyotes will be caught, which are hard to release without harming or killing them.

Because of the pasture re-shuffle (long story, not worth telling), George is now in with a group of geldings, and Bridget, Rose, and Chloe were moved in with the survivors of the dog attack - an old mare named Sasha and an older gelding called Jack. George is content to be one of the boys and established himself as No. 4 out of 5 without much fuss. The barn manager says he's much easier for her to handle - more laid back. No pesky females for him to keep in line. He and his mares (Rose and Bridget - Chloe doesn't give a damn) are still very bonded and congregate by the dividing fence in a spot where there are some large friendly trees for all to rest in the shade together. The other geldings join them sometimes.

So little Bridget is now Queen of the World. She's the youngest horse in the pasture and in the top spot. Heavy is the head, and all that. She's lording it over the others, but has become anxious about leaving them too. New responsibilities - moving on in life.

I went away on a hoof-trimming visit to Pennsylvania right after George moved ne and Bridget got her promotion. On my return three weeks later, I found things were not quite the same. Bridget was reluctant to leave the pasture and eager to get back - she who used to stand banging on the gate to be taken out and never really wanted to be put back again. She was still just as glad to see me, but not keen for me to put the halter on.

But here's what she did the first time we were together after my return. She saw me, walked over, stood in front of me, took a step backwards, and - I swear to God - bowed.

She knew I would have treats (which I always bring and offload in the first few minutes, and then we're done), and she knows to turn her nose away before being offered one, which she's always done in a rather peremptory fashion. But this was way, way more of a gesture than that.  I don't know where it came from. Another thing: she's always been slow to move for me - if I ask her to back up, the gears have to grind, and she has to unglue her front feet from the ground first. But since her promotion, it appears that she is quicker and more responsive - in backing and turning, her forehand is lighter. Clearly there is a sea change taking place in her psyche and body. We'll see where it all leads us!

 As for Chloe, for the first time since she's been with us, she has her very own best buddy. She and Jack have teamed up and become partners in crime, a term I use justly as they are allowed to roam the property at large and lately have been invading the workshop and barn and generally causing minor mayhem.

Jack and Chloe


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