Thursday, June 25, 2009

the six-year old psychs out the boss mare

Last night we decided to give the geldings some time in our front yard. They love grazing there, and we love having them right by the front porch. My husband went out to shift things so that Salina and the donkeys could have the big barnyard while the geldings came down front.

It didn't exactly work that way.

The donkeys got wind of what was happening and came running. That, of course, triggered Salina to come running, and there they were, in the front yard grazing away. We decided to just let all of them down, which is a rare occurrence.

Keil Bay sauntered down and took his position in the midst of the grass. Cody and the pony came cantering down the grass paddock, only to be stopped cold in their tracks right at the "gateway" to the front yard.

Salina had decided she only wanted her "immediate" family down front, so she parked herself in the grass just inside the gate and turned her rear to Cody and the pony.

The pony decided to live in the moment, and just graze where he was, since the grass paddock does in fact have grass too.

But Cody (the six year old) became obsessed with trying to sneak past Salina. He got behind the holly tree and took a sneaky step toward the gate. She couldn't possibly have seen him, but she whipped her head around and flagged him back.

He went around the other way. Again, when he got one step too close to the gate, she turned and flagged.

After 3 or 4 times of this, she seemed to get exasperated, much like a mother who has told a child something 4 times with zero effect. She turned and flagged again, once, then two more times for good measure. This triple flagging caused Cody to wheel around and walk a few steps away from the gate.

Salina must have felt she had gotten the message across, because she moved a few feet forward to a new patch of grass. It was about thirty seconds before Cody saw an opening and took it, going from standstill to gallop. He shot right by her and headed all the way down to the furthest corner in front. She looked up and then continued grazing. Too much trouble to go roust him out.

The pony had been watching all this while continuing to eat.

I guess he figured Cody had paved the way, and since Salina hadn't gone ballistic, it was safe for him to follow suit.

A few seconds later, the painted pony dashed through the gate and down front in a flash of brown and white.

After that there was only the sound of serious grass pulling and chewing, and the hard swish of tails and stamping of hooves that screamed "HORSEFLY!"

My husband took a break from his laptop to show off his horsefly-aversion skills. The horses are very good about letting you get the big biters, and will almost always stand patiently while you wait for the fly to land.

Usually if you do this for a few minutes the horseflies get savvy and leave the area.

It was a rare night that they all get to go in front together, and sometimes one or more have to be removed, but last night they were happy to graze in peace.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Smart kids. I love that he waited for an opening then flew by and Salinas just let it be because it wasn't worth the trouble to enforce the rules. It's an educating experience to watch the antics of the whole herd together.

billie said...

They're all so smart about what they can get away with and with which herd member.

It's fascinating.

Janet Roper said...

billie, that made me chuckle! I can just see Cody waiting to make his great break past Salina. Love watching the equine dynamics ;-)

billie said...

Me, too, Janet - they are so much fun to watch.