Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Flurry

Somehow this weekend turned into a total flurry of productivity, which was pleasingly sprinkled with a few extra bright spots, which included our stop to see Miss P and check in with both Dr. Finn and Cowboy Man.

I knew that P still hadn't started her "training" per se, at least not anything beyond handling and working her slowly into the herd.  Apparently our trip was well timed, as P had just started really moving with the herd and incorporating herself more in the hours before we arrived.

In talking with Cowboy Man, it sounds like P's first few days of turn out with the herd, went as expected.  That is to say that P got her butt kicked.  She also spent most of her "turn out" oscillating between hovering on the outside of the group and scampering back to the barn to the relative safety of her smaller run and a barn buddy whom she had befriended.

Cowboy Man said that sort of tentative behavior is typical and can last anywhere from a few days, to a few months depending on the horse and how social they are.  Herds don't tolerate "wussy" behavior very well (apparently weak members attract predators... like llamas), so the more timid a new horse is, the more aggressively they tend to be run off.  Conversely, if a new horse comes in all puffed up and prancing, the herd tends to test them a little, then accept the newcomer more quickly.

Apparently, in spite of P's wussy, run back to the barn tendencies - on Saturday, she was able to start running with the herd.

When we showed up, she was grazing happily, and surrounded by other horses on all sides. (go mare!).

I'm not sure The Boy had even turned the truck all the way off before I was out of it and skipping through the field toward Miss P.  She just looked happy.

Supremely, calm, happy and relaxed.

Her stance is totally different, she's more balanced, less tense through her shoulder and standing much squarer on her front legs.  As a result, her neck/shoulder/back also look totally different.  I had a fleeting thought of "oh crap, there's no way my saddle is ever going to fit her ever again" before snapping back to reality and marveling at how much change could happen in such a short time.  Her weight looks fantastic, she's dirty (but shiny) and she has withers!

I tried to take pictures to show the difference (they all turned out terribly) but maybe you'll be able to see what I'm talking about.  It's crazy, and I'm sure there's even more change to come. 

She also has some battle scars.  Hair is missing everywhere.  her face, her neck, her legs... and she's got a mother of a hickey going on.  Apparently she "challenged" one of the geldings and he just latched on to her neck with his teeth.  For a while.  and didn't let go...  Now it's a swollen gross mess of a lump, but Dr. Finn has drained it twice and apparently it's starting to subside.
expected damages...
When I was satisfied that her wounds weren't life threatening (far from it), I started to notice how she was moving through the herd.  Just sitting in the field and watching the group flow around was a pretty cool experience that even The Boy could enjoy.  P was relaxed, but very aware of the other horses.  She deferred to them early and often, moving away whenever a high ranking horse moved into her space, or came to investigate the new people who were milling about. 

She did defend her humans (or more likely her peace-offering of carrots) from two of the herd members - the tiny pony, and one docile old mare.
Brave mare actually stood up to this little beast...
I was so distracted by loving on P, that I did a TERRIBLE job of documenting the interesting things like her feet and withers, and managed only to snuggle with her, poke at her hickey, chase the adorable pony around and finger comb P's somewhat matted tail.  P even rolled a few times, which was the first time in nearly 9 months I've seen her really roll.  Shame on me for not picking up on that change in behavior sooner...

Carrots and Loves
This little bugger nearly got put in the back to the truck and taken home...
After we ran out of treats, I said my goodbyes to P and piled back in the truck to take Cowboy Man and Dr. Finn out for a brunch.  A quick bite turned into three hours of thoughtful discourse on resource management, riding philosophy, war stories and a bit of talk about our plans for Pia.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent and was able to come away feeling even better about every cent that I'm spending for P's time over there.  It's not fancy, but she's getting incredible attention, her feet are on track, her body looks great and I can just tell that she's enjoying herself.  I cannot wait for our next visit, or for the day I leg back up onto her and we go for that first big trail ride...


  1. Love the pictures of you guys!

  2. What an amazing update!! I'm so happy for Pia-a horse that is dirty and rolling is a happy horse indeed. And yeah, I totally would have had to stop myself from stealing that poniieee!:) So cute!!

  3. She looks awesome! Don't worry about the nicks and scrapes, they will heal... but all this good, natural, peaceful R&R will make a lasting change. Loving following along on this adventure with you!

  4. The not rolling thing is interesting, isn't it? I always get worried if I don't see dirt on my boys for a day or two - means they're not getting down and wiggling around. It's also so interesting how much their bodies and feet change and how rapidly when they are moving around like their supposed to be. I'm glad to hear Ms P is having such a good time and doing so well!

  5. My monster is out on pasture at "summer camp." He was covered in battle scars when i went to visit him this week. But like they told me when I worked at the track...Those cuts and scrapes are a long way from his heart.
    Excellent update! I'm glad P is starting to mesh into the herd. My monster...not so much. He is a wuss.

  6. She looks great! I'm so glad she's doing well.

    And I'm totally stealing that pony next time I'm in town. I never had one as a kid, so I have lost time to make up for.

  7. Happy for Pia - so glad you went for this option!

    That poneh is seriously cute... does he have a story?

  8. Yay Pia! I'm so happy she's integrated into the herd and is happy, healthy and comfortable. That bite wound looks painful, but it will heal. I bet she learned a lot from that one hehe. :)

    The pony is too friggin adorable! I would have had to shove him into the hatchback and taken him home. :) I can't wait for more updates. It's so fun hearing about the changes and adventures.


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