Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Little Pony, Part 2





After Obie's antics the night before, I had a rather hard time sleeping, as I kept wondering if I was going to hear galloping hoofbeats in areas of the property where horses are not supposed to be running loose (wouldn't be the first time, as the holes in our lawn will attest). I was also wondering whether I was going to wake up to find one or more of my horses with wounds from fighting, or Twister writhing with colic pain from eating hay she wasn't used to.

I woke up fairly early, took a deep breath, and peeked outside. Fortunately, everyone was indeed where we left them, and Obie and Twister seemed fairly comfortable with each other. It was quite clear that Obie was enamored of Twister in a rather innocent, adolescent boy kind of way. He kept making goo-goo eyes at her and gently tried to get close to her, and she would give a tiny, half-hearted squeal and leave it at that. He was very respectful and kind to her. I think part of his attraction to Twister may be that she is colored very similarly to his mother. I read a study once that said stallions are much more attracted to mares that are similar in color to their dam, so perhaps there is something hardwired into Obie to like minimal white, black and white paints and pintos!

But the Obie and Twister relationship was only 1/3 of what we had to deal with. We were left with Gryphon and Rogie still in that tiny paddock, both getting quite agitated as the other two were so far away. Prolonged stress like that is dangerous for Gryphon (who is insulin resistant -- a condition that can be exacerbated by stress), so we decided that maybe it was best to try to get the introductions over with between Gryphon and Twister, even though this was not part of the original plan and was not at all how I would choose to do things.

However, I didn't feel I could realistically leave Gryphon in that small space for days, and I honestly didn't think he would be too hard on her if Rogie wasn't in the mix. Michael had been up close and personal when the whole thing went down with Gryphon last night (I didn't see it...too dark and I was far away), and he is quite sure that part of Gryphon's harsh attack on Twister was because Rogie was trying to see her and she was being slightly bossy towards Rogie. Gryphon LOSES HIS MIND if anyone threatens "his" donkey, so I thought Michael was likely right.

What we decided to do was leave poor Rogie in the wee paddock, and put Gryphon in with Obie and Twister. Heart in the throat time! Gryphon seemed to ignore her for a while, then he went after her and chased her pretty hard. She got a good kick in at one point and used her superior maneuverability to her advantage, but Gryphon is very wily and tried to pin her against the fence several times. Poor Twister was quite scared and kept running to Michael for protection. He ran Gryphon off when it seemed to be getting to be too much, and things settled down again. Twister stayed pretty close to Michael after that.

What was very interesting, though, was how Obie tried to run interference for Twister. Whenever he could, he tried to put himself between Gryphon and Twister, clearly trying to help her stay safe. In one later, pretty intense chase, he actually booted Gryphon a couple of times, trying to keep him from hurting his new girlfriend! It was quite the show and a bit scary to watch all this, but thus far, no one has hurt anyone, despite making contact on a number of occasions. I know this is all a normal part of introducing new horses to each other, but it is always very tense for me to witness! The fact is that they are going to do this, and they can hurt each other, so you either keep them separate or you take your chances and hope that no one gets mashed before they get used to each other. I would have preferred to keep her separate from the boys for a number of days, but that's just not what happened.

LATER IN THE DAY: Just took a look and all seems peaceful, except for Rogie, who is extremely put out about being locked up. We figure that we'll have to keep him out of the mix for a day or two until Gryphon and Twister are a bit more sorted out. Poor wee baby!


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