Our new peaceful herd arrangement didn't last long. Alternating which pair of horses goes in the upper pasture stopped after day two. It doesn’t matter which pasture we put Cierra & Koda, Nemo and Harmony want to be with them.
Saturday morning I walked past the window and said “Brad, look at your horse". Nemo was running the fence line trying to stir things up. Sigh. I took a short video before Brad went out to try and calm things down.
As you can see, we got more snow. I could have taken more video of the madness that was brewing. I probably could have even gotten some interesting photos, but I was too concerned. For everyone's safety. Especially Brad's. The situation was escalating.
We have one pregnant horse, one lame horse, one older horse and one mad horse. Not hard to figure out who is who. All of them feeling displaced.
Cierra was teasing Nemo by prancing around. Koda started full out antagonizing Nemo. He shook his head at him like a crazy man. Just out of reach. In the silliest way. As if to say "nah, nah nah nah nah" . Followed by a mini rear and buck. He would spin, turn and serve up more sass "what are you gunna do about it". Koda's mane made shaking his head look slo mo. It was hilarious. I am surprised Koda didn't stick his tongue out! Welcome to my horse. What a naughty little kid.
However, the situation itself was not funny. At one point Nemo hit the (hot) fence with his front leg. The whole string shook. I could see it all the way from the house. Brad was hoping to halter Nemo and remove him. Nemo was in one of his uncatchable moods. Not even my horse whisperer was going to catch him.
Brad tried switching the horses around to diffuse the situation. Harmony went in with Cierra and he put Koda in with Nemo. I yelled from the deck at the poor guy "what are you doing, Koda is lame!!!". Of course Brad was just trying to diffuse the situation. Switching horses didn't improve the agitated dynamics. Eventually Koda stuck his face in the hay bunk and ignored the antics. The other three kept at it.
The only way to change the situation was to remove Cierra.
By the time I headed out to help, Brad had put Harmony back with the boys and started walking Cierra in hand. They walked allll the way to the corner of the upper pasture. There is a panel that could be removed, in the last of the original fencing we inherited.
With Cierra in the barn, things calmed down with the other three horses. Not with her. So much for trying to keep her stress levels low. Eventually Nemo came inside and Brad took Cierra back out. Harmony started ear pinning at her. What the fudge! Back in the barn Cierra went. Sigh. Poor mama.
After the fact, Brad mentioned “all Cierra & Koda had to do is walk away...".
Over the weekend, our not so peaceful arrangement was split half day turnout time. Less than ideal for any of us. Two horses turned out, half the time. The horses were okay for a while. It turned into four less than happy horses, and double barn chores. With Nemo or Cierra calling out throughout the day.
We are thinking through different turnout scenario's. In hopes of finding the better solution.
It cannot happen overnight. Especially with off/on snowstorms making a mess out of everything. This crazy weather and geomagnetic activity isn't helping anything. Removing trees, fencing etc takes time and solid ground. It is hard to figure out the best pasture re-configuration! We thought we had time while we wait for Spring to arrive. At least I hope it will arrive. Sooo much to consider with feeding, water, Winter conditions and shelters for our growing herd.
We knew adding a foal would change our herd dynamics, but the new addition isn't even here. This pre-birth herd drama caught us by surprise. Even our trainer who knows all our horses well was surprised.
Today we are trying split pasture turnout again, but with hay & water further away. I would wager a bet it isn’t going to completely fix the separation dynamics. It should help, but Nemo doesn’t want hay. He has hay. What Nemo wants is his herd back together, so he can manage them.
Nobody said this breeding thing would be easy.
We are well aware things are going to be challenging for a long time. We also know, we will eventually find a new normal. Keeping our eye on the prize helps.