Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Who’s Boss Anyway?

Horses are funny critters. They have a level of hierarchy that must be maintained. Yet that crown of leadership, is sometimes open for revisions, when I’m not around that is. After all, I am the supreme ruler, and my power is never to be questioned. It’s when I’m not amongst them that all sorts of jockeying for position goes on. Every group has an obvious, no doubts whatsoever leader. It’s the lackeys below that leader that strive to be more, to move up that shaky ladder, whenever they get the opportunity.
The jostle for power, can be triggered by many things. The removal of one of the group for a few days or longer. The return of that same individual, or the addition of a new body to the herd. Take away a horse that has always been a part of the herd for a bit longer, and the others will proceed to put it in its place when you return it, the first opportunity they get. No chance of allowing an interloper, even a familiar one, to take away a hard earned position could be allowed.
Over the years, we’ve become quite adept at assimilating horses back into the herd, or together with a stranger. The easiest way to get two horses to bond, is trailering them together for a bit of time. It’s as if surviving the horror of travelling in a horse trailer together, makes them rely on each other. We allow horses to visit over the safety of a good fence, and we’ll often remove the boss horse from the equation, until the new horse was accepted by the herd as a whole, then put boss horse back in again. Even if new horse was at the bottom of the pecking order, it would still maintain some friendships, and is all it needs.
Sometimes all the care and planning in the world, doesn’t make a bit of a difference. The funniest one we ever had, was when I bought a Morgan mare, housed her next to the big herd for a couple of months then when I figured all was peaceful, moved her over to live with them. Back then we had quite a few horses in that corral. Among them, the heavy Belgians, Pat and Tom. Well, Tom came charging over, fully intent on putting Misty, a mare less than half his size, in her place. Only to have the tables turned. That plucky mare, spun around to meet his charge with her rear. He swiftly did the same. Before he had a chance to make a single kick, she had her chubby, Morgan butt wedged under his Belgian one, and was letting him have it, both barrels! The look of surprise, on his giant face was priceless and laughable. When he understood that he was dealing with a force beyond his control, he tried to run away, yet Misty was in a zone, and proving a point. She would not be pushed around or bullied, not even by a giant. That little horse must’ve repeatedly lifted, Tom’s big butt half way across the corral, before Tom finally managed to escape her wrath. She became boss horse that day, and kept that position all the years she was with us.
The latest bringing together of horses was with Dezi, Trooper and Mack Charger. First I kept Dezi and Trooper together, then took Trooper away from Dezi and put him with Mack. Both Trooper and Dezi are dominant horses. Mack couldn’t care less, one way or the other. Mack is a passivist and abstainer from violence. The problem with that, is that passive often translates into bullied. If Dezi and Trooper buddied up, they would likely pick on Mack. Instead, I had Trooper and Mack share a pasture for a few days, before introducing Dezi into the picture. It totally worked. Trooper was protective of Mack, and stayed between him and his old buddy Dezi. Dezi wanted Trooper all to himself, but Trooper wasn’t about to give up Mack. Then Dezi decided he would like to have Mack, but couldn’t create problems with Trooper, because after all, Trooper was his friend too. Within two days, all three horses are contentedly cohabiting, no fuss no muss. Dezi and Trooper are sharing Mack, and it’s pretty darn cute. Goofy horses.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB