Life in a Herd

9 Dec


Living with a small herd of horses can teach you things you would never learn otherwise.

With a herd, you see the relationship between the horses and realize that this interaction is crucial to their well-being.  We kept a pony alone for awhile, and she was fine with us as her herd.  So people can be a substitute for the “horse herd.”  But you do miss out on seeing some amazing things.

Last night, Gypsy the pony entangled her back legs in the electric fence.  She was probably being a mare and kicking at the gelding on the other side.  She had been trapped in the fence tape for some time when I found her at morning chores.  She could not move, but didn’t fight the fence.  The gelding stood behind her, a vigilant guard in the next paddock and refused to move until I had freed Gypsy.

Gypsy stood quietly while I got a scissors and cut the strands.  She looked at me with complete trust.  I unwound her back legs and she walked off, unscathed, to eat hay.  She did stop to take a treat and bump me with her nose.

I shudder to think what Katie would have done if she had trapped her legs in the fence.  Katie spooks at her own shadow.

But then again, Katie surprises me sometimes by being sensible.  She is not as ditzy as she looks.  She would probably have evaluated the situation and waited, too.  At least, I hope she would have.

Back to the herd.  They all have their place and they look out for each other.  The geldings play rough- the other day Duke and Macho were kicking at each other with their back legs as they grazed, then stopped kicking and continued grazing.  They may have a mock battle, flailing front legs like wild stallions, then drop to graze nose to nose.

The mares have to kick and run and then graze together and stick together like glue against the geldings.  But put Katie back in with her long-term gelding buddy after a few hours and they immediately groom each others’ withers like long-lost friends.

The herd is a place of endless fascination and reveals the depth of the relationships that horses forge.


8 Responses to “Life in a Herd”

  1. International Cowgirl December 9, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    awesome! we have one mini. She is a handful on her own but she likes to boss the bigger horses around. This was a lovely post. 🙂

    • A New Path December 9, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Thank you! 🙂 Minis think they are so much bigger than they are.

  2. The Dancing Rider December 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Lovely entry. Minis sound like how small dogs are … our little guys thought they were Great Danes. Really enjoyed reading your observations.

  3. tbnranch December 11, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Great post, enjoyed! I had a similar experience with my pony the other morning. I found her in another pen, standing alone, with no water or hay. I couldn’t imagine how she got there! I stood there for a long time before I saw prints in the dirt that explained what happened. She was cast, and somehow managed to free herself by squeezing under the bottom rail. How she got that fat belly under there is a mystery to me, but she did it! lol

    • A New Path December 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Thank you, tbranch! Only ponies do things like that! Big bellies and all! lol Once we saw Gypsy flatten herself on her side and scoot (still on her side) under the low wire to escape into the pasture (out of her diet pen).

  4. Susan Friedland-Smith January 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    I just stumbled upon your blog and love all the pony pictures! Herd dynamics are fascinating. So glad Gypsy was okay! 😉

    • A New Path January 14, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

      Thank you! Thanks for stopping by to read, too.

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