Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another New Gelding! Red is NOT Happy!

Yesterday two good-looking horses, a bay TB mare a bay gelding, moved into the General Pasture. New horses are always a huge event as there is no slow introduction and accommodation, they are released right into the herd. This upsets the herd hierarchy and creates several days of chaos. All the horses are stressed until the new horses find their place in the herd hierarchy.

The new gelding did not mess around - he saw Coal, the black percheron who is boss mare (and Red's beloved) and made straight for her. When I left yesterday the geldings were milling about with arched necks, squealing, and maneuvering for the position closest to Coal. Tonight, this is what I found. The new gelding was scooched right next to Coalie and looking mighty pleased with himself. My Red Horse was not in sight. My stomach dropped to my toes.

Then I saw him, far away, all alone. Not at all happy.
Just a little black bird for company.

Poor, dejected Red Horse.

Meanwhile, Steamer, a tough little mustang, is pretty angry about the new gelding. Steamer is the horse that kicked Red last August, laming him for two weeks. Red and Steamer worked out a time-share arrangement on Coal. The new gelding looks like he has other ideas.

Looks like Steamer won that round.
Yeesh! That new gelding certainly looks surly.

This was the only damage I could find. I think Red's self concept took a much worse hit today.

ps - a slower introduction to the herd has been suggested by many people and rejected by management. It is one of the things that troubles me about the general pasture. I have never found an acceptable balance that still allows my horses movement and a life in the herd. Fortunately, the herd is fairly stable - changes seem to happen 2 - 4 times a year.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Poor Red. I guess they will sort it all out, although I do think it's easier on the herd if new members are introduced slowly. Love the pictures, especially the one of Red with the bird.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Sorry that Red is having a rough time of it. Seems that a slower introduction of new horses into the herd would be a better idea.

One Red Horse said...

I wish that there was an introduction pen at Freshwater. It would be easy to do. You can be certain I have suggested this. The response is the standard "we've been doing it that way for 25 years." :(

Lori Skoog said...

Red will be ok, but my opinion for introductions is not like the one of your barn manager. It can take two weeks for this at our farm, and I spend a lot of time with them as I go through the procedure. Too much can happen in a blink of an eye, and I feel very responsible for this.

jc said...

This sort of introduction is just asking for trouble. In the wild, a 'new' horse would have unlimited space to get away from the leaders but even in a large field, the space will always be limited.

Poor Red, no wonder he looks so miserable. I hope he finds his place soon.

gtyyup said...

That is a pretty hard intro...I'm with you, they need time to acclimate with one another...serious injury is bound to happen sooner or later. Management is supposed to be smarter than that...sigh.

Michelle said...

Argh...this is one of the things that frustrates me about boarding facilities! Barn owners have a huge responsibility with our animals - you'd think they would worry a bit more about things like this. Oh well, hope Red is doing better now.