Monday, January 31, 2011

cody update and a new friendship in the herd

When I went out to feed tubs this morning, Cody was playing tag over the fence with Keil Bay, and then with Little Man, so it was good to see that his spirits are still high.

I noticed when he came into the barn for breakfast that he seems even more tender on the hoof, but when he went out after breakfast, he headed straight for the firm (but with some give) footing of the arena, and while when moving he seems more tender, when he is standing he is very purposefully putting himself square and then easing his full weight down onto that heel.

I'm thinking he's getting to that point that Salina gets to when the abscess is close to blowing and there is a need to 'push' on it. I've seen Salina prop her near to blowing abscessed hoof on a tree root and then shift her weight onto it to increase the pressure. And of course she will soak her own hoof in the water buckets on the ground when she feels that's what she needs to get the thing out. 

With Cody today, it appears he is doing a similar thing by squaring up so his full weight goes down onto that heel - but he's definitely easing into that.

He was tossing his head when some herd play started up, and again, I'm heartened to see that even though he's dealing with this abscess, his spirit is still strong.

Which segues me to the second part of the post.

A week or two ago I began to notice that a new dynamic was forming in the herd. The relationships are fairly stable - they all get along well enough in terms of all turning out together. Keil Bay is the benevolent leader, Salina is the not always so benevolent boss mare, and the major play has always been between Keil and Cody, Keil and the pony, Cody and the pony, and Cody and Redford donkey, and of course between the two little donkeys.

Rafer has never really "played" with the big horses or the pony. Redford has been quite the playmate for Cody though, and the two of them frequently have a game going at some point in every day.

Over the last couple of weeks though, I've noticed that the pony has been playing with Redford. It's very interesting, as the size difference is of course not as dramatic as Cody and Redford. Because the Little Man is so much smaller than Cody, the play with Redford can get much more ... fast.

This morning he and Redford were trotting around together, then cantering, then at a dead gallop. And they were prancing, lifting tails, doing the side-to-side head thing, and just generally having a blast. The first clue that major play was in the air though was Salina, who headed in from the back field at a very big walk - she wisely gets herself out of the way when that kind of action starts up.

Rafer was standing in the arena with Cody, and when Cody started tossing his head Rafer joined in the play but inside the arena, running around the rail keeping his eye on the pony and Redford, but also being very careful not to bother Cody. It was very sweet.

It's so much fun seeing a new friendship blossom, especially right now when Redford's main playmate is not exactly able to run with him!


Máire said...

I love reading about herd dynamics. I wonder does Cody's reduced mobility change the dynamics a bit. I do hope his abscess blows soon.

Grey Horse Matters said...

It does sound like he's trying to help his abscess along and it will most likely blow soon. I hope it does.

I think it's so cute when they play and have fun with each other. Sami is our instigator and he and Grady usually go at it all day. Sometimes a few of the others will get in on the fun too. They are very bored right now. The funny thing is that Dusty NEVER plays, I guess it's beneath the mares to participate in stupid boy games. Sweetie used to give them a wide berth too.

billie said...

Maire, this new dynamic started well before Cody's mobility declined, but I'm sure right now his being out of the action is contributing to the pony and Redford's play. It was truly magnificent movement on both their parts - exuberance and joy. And so nice to see Cody participating with his characteristic head toss.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that he seems to be enjoying his time "off" - his mood is very good. So interesting to me.

billie said...

Arlene, very interesting observation about the mares. I have seen Salina run with the herd but other than when she is in heat have not seen her do anything playful towards the other horses or even the donkeys. She "monitors" the donkeys, and def. keeps her eye on everything going on in our entire neighborhood, but it's a very serious job - as though she must take care of all of them by staying outside the "wildness."

Dougie Donk said...

I totally agree with your point about mares staying outwithe the wildness.

Tammy pony always supervises what's going on; but only intervenes when Dennis is getting a bit too rough in his games with Dougie - he gets firmly threatened & sent away.

Strangely enough, she just stand by when Flynn (herd leader) picks Dougie up by the neck to tell him off - wonder why?

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Equines being there for each other :)
Any progress on the abscess?

I linked to you today :)

billie said...

Maybe she trusts Flynn's judgment...!

billie said...

Yes, on the abscess - I'm going to post a quick update.