Spencer is now in a Pasture with a Herd...of sorts.
Spencer, trying to make sense of it all.
I sent Spencer out into the larger pasture yesterday. He’s now in with a 3 year old Quarab, Jake, and 5 minis (2 donkeys, 2 mules and 1 horse).
I allowed him some time to snoop around the pasture and loafing shed. That much open space seemed a bit scary for him at first. He clearly wanted back into the familiar field he'd been in for the past few weeks. But he meandered around and got more comfortable in his new area.
Normally, I walk new horses around the fenceline to keep them from running through it in a paniced moment, but he wasn't into allowing me to get a leadrope attached to him that day and I didn't feel like screwing with it. The fence couldn't hurt him anyways. He can just about step over it. (Not to worry, now that his gonads are gone!)
Finally, I locked him in the paddock and brought Forrest, the Clydesdale/WM cross, into the pasture.
Forrest is a love, but he doesn’t take crap off many horses. He’s a good 16 hands, but looks small next to Spencer. They made some noise and postured over the gate and after that quieted down, I opened the gate.
Forrest and Spencer - after introductions. I'd guess he and Spencer weight about the same and Forrest has a much lighter build. (Here come the excuses: Forrest isn't usually that fat. But all my horses are gaining weight (getting obese) on the summer air right now. He looked good about 300 pounds ago.)
That's part of my round pen leaning up against the fence. (another project.)
I didn’t let their introductions go as slowly as I did with Danny, but I figured, it’s time for Spencer to start his education in herd behavior. Not all horses are as good natured as Danny, or as brutal as the stallion he was put in with at the last place. Two extremes.
When he and Forrest were first allowed in together, oddly Forrest ignored Spencer, while Spence sniffed Forrest all over. Nibbling his legs and hooves, like he might with a mare and he was acting very stud-like (if you get my drift).
While all of that was going on, Forrest allowed the once over, then he finally let Spencer know he was straight. (I believe Spencer’s ego is taking a real beating meeting all these mares who have no interest in him whatsoever. He doesn’t get "geldings".)
I tossed a few piles of hay out to them and kicking and screaming lasted about 2 seconds and Forrest’s higher rank was firmly in place.
I will wait awhile before introducing a mare. Although he’s got a gal donkey and gal mule in with him. Trudy, the mini mule, opens a can of whoopass on Spencer every time he gets anywhere near her man, Harley the mini horse. That’s pretty funny to watch and will be the beginning of his education on what mares are capable of.
Spencer is really sweet around Jake too. They were eating out of the same pile of hay this morning!
If you look very closely, you can see Spencer out in the field with his new herdmates in this picture that I took this morning (from our back porch.) It was a misty morning after an impressive thunderstorm.
PS: I just wanted to explain that the old horse trailer that you see out in the field is not normally something I would put in a pasture. (The hitch part is covered to prevent leg fractures.) I bought it for $100 with the intention of painting it for the equine agility field to use for trailer loading training. Not sure how long it will take to get around to that project with the 100's of other projects on our list.
Pat and Rich Wagner own and operate the Rainier Equine Hoof Recovery Center. A non-profit (501c3) rescue facility where horses with hoof problems come for rehabilitation. We also provide clinics to teach horse owners to "naturally" trim their own horses hooves.