Friday, July 15, 2011

pony pony pony!

I had an entire blog post ready to write about how the pony, who is trying hard to step into the role of herd leader, and is a good example of everything we humans DON'T want to do when joining with our horses. He is bossy, pins his ears at the other horses, sneaks into their space and then tries to bully them out of it, has no qualms at all about nipping at them or shoving them with his nose or hind end, and basically, this summer, has been a huge pain in the you know what to his herd.

I've been watching him, curious about his methods, which in some ways remind me of humans engaging in bossy, demanding, I want to make you do this just because I CAN kind of behavior.

The real herd leaders here, Keil Bay and Salina, each have their own style of leadership. Salina tends to be a bit more punitive than Keil Bay, but all she really has to do to assert her role is to flag at the geldings and generally, they listen.

Keil Bay is incredibly benevolent. Although he will sometimes lunge toward one of the horses he usually behaves like a good friend. He will share his stall, his tub, his hay pile, and he is highly sought after by each of the other equines for company.

When I look at the herd it's Keil Bay I would most want to emulate. He has a presence that is based in respect and his good nature.

So of course today the pony shifted gears. It was his day to be on the near side of the barn. Instead of barreling in and stirring up Salina, he cheerfully went to the end stall and stayed put while I served breakfast tubs. He joined me as I carried out the empty tubs, doing his best to help clean them out.

He came up to help as I was cleaning water troughs, standing with me as I worked.

At one point when he decided to walk through the barn aisle, and was in fact halfway through the barn doors, I called out "No, Little Man, don't go through there. Stay over here!" He stopped, backed out, and walked a few feet away to graze.

Did he intuit my negative blog post and do a 180 just to throw me off track? Did he turn over a new leaf? I have no idea. I do know he was very happy to have his turn on the near side of the barn, and Keil Bay and Cody were so happy they stood together in Keil's stall on the other side and communed in the peace of three open stalls and no pony.

We were all very happy that the temperature was in the mid-80s yesterday and today. Next week when it hits the triple digits (why oh why did I look at the 10-day forecast?) we'll see how the Little Man's cheerful demeanor holds up. Today though, I enjoyed having a painted pony who seemed quite content with his role in the herd.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Hopefully, he'll see how easy it is on him and everyone around him to be a little more easy going. We have the same thing with Sami, he's a pain in the butt to everyone else and does get put in his place but he still tries everyday to be number one. He's small too about 14-3, wonder if it's the Napoleon syndrome or just because he's the youngest one in the herd.

billie said...

A, I have wondered that too wrt size. Maybe when you're small you need to keep at it just to make sure you don't get walked over?

But the donkeys don't do that, and they are treated well in the herd - of course, they're not horses, but...

I have often imagined what the herd dynamic would be in a herd of ponies. Our little man came from a herd of all ponies but pretty quickly developed a relationship with Keil Bay even when they were turned out with a larger herd of assorted equines.

It's been true here all along with him - he never, ever stops trying to be number 1. I suspect the reason we have harmony for the most part is that Keil Bay's leadership style is benevolent. He will kick the barn wall before he'll kick the pony. And although sometimes I worry about the barn wall, I am glad he doesn't aim his hooves at the little man!

Máire said...

I love this! Don't you think they know we blog about them? I think, too, that size must matter. Tough on the smaller ones who want to assert themselves.

billie said...

Maire, I do think they know somehow when we are talking or writing about them. It very often happens that if I'm in the barn with someone and the horses are out in the field that whichever one I am talking about will come in a few moments after I start talking about him and hang his head over the stall door. That has happened so many times now I actually say "oh, he'll be in any second now" and it always happens!

ponymaid said...

billie - the world of ponies is closed to the rest of us -"they move in mysterious ways their horrors to perform". He sounds alarmingly like TJ, or a mosquito, in his choice of tactics.

billie said...

Sheaffer, I had to laugh at the quote and the comparisons! Apache Moon is definitely a pistol, but then again, he can be incredibly loyal when it comes to his human girl and also when out at various events. Take him on the road and he is like a piece of pie - sweet and draws people from all around to admire him.

I will say one thing. Of all the equines here, Redford is the only one who has not a moment's hesitation when it comes to ramming the pony right in the butt! And for whatever reason, the pony lets him do it!

Victoria Cummings said...

I love herd dynamics. I can just imagine little Mr. A. Moon scheming about how to rise to the top and get on your good side. Sounds like Keil Bay has his number and will keep him in line. Good luck with the heat. We're getting it here too this week.

billie said...

Thanks, V. We have chiros here today and trims on Wed. so it is going to be a sweating few days for equine workers. I can't imagine trimming hooves all day in 100+ degree heat indexes.