musical horses

No, this post is not about the all too familiar horses musical tootin'. It is about switching horses around to find peace. You know ~ musical horses. 

Putting Cierra in with Hope and Harmony went well the first couple days. Until Cierra turned into an over protective Mama. It was not unexpected, but we had to try. 

Clapping, whistling and yelling "don't let her do that" could be heard, when we noticed Hope trying to nurse. One would think Cierra would tire of this normal baby behavior, especially if/when it hurt. I watched Cierra position herself, even when Hope wasn't asking.

Thankfully, Cierra stayed dry. However, she frantically tried to keep Hope by her side. Key word try. When Cierra wasn't doing that, she was keeping Harmony away. Not only from Hope, but the feeder too. It was a non-stop job. Cierra was going to run herself ragged, cutting between Hope and the world that surrounds her. Even Hope got tired of Mama's possessiveness and threw one of her baby fits. Wish I could predict them and capture a video to share. They come out of nowhere and are so funny!

water tank gossip
(Cierra, Nemo and Harmony & Hope)

While all this was going on Nemo was busy in the neighboring pasture, keeping Koda away from the girls. Our split herd hangs out together where the water and gates are. He was not allowed to cross an invisible line, but kept trying. 
Not ideal for a horse recovering from lameness. I could see Koda was stressed around Nemo, when we brought him in. 

Cierra cannot be in the same pasture as Hope for now. We don't need a possessive mare, so Cierra went back in with our boys.

The original 3 sharing

Nemo, Koda & Cierra

Everything went well, until it didn't. Now that Cierra has release her hostage, Nemo is less concerned with her. It is all about keeping Koda away from HIS girls! Needless to say, we are currently back to half day turnout. Chores 3X a day it is. Alternating Koda and Nemo daily. What. A. Pain!!! Meanwhile Hope hangs out with Harmony in the neighboring pasture. 

Harmony & Hope in lower pasture

I will be the first to say I am a bit surprised. Koda and Nemo have been together their whole lives. They were born one day apart (same breeder) and have lived together for 15 years. WTF. Excuse my acronym, but we were expecting our happy herd to be reunited. Our horses let us know they want to be together. If only they checked their opinions at the gate.

Nemo & Koda indoor reunion test
10/14/23 (16 sec)

Nemo has always been herd boss, but has become very possessive. Our third pasture behind the arena is coming in nicely, but will not be ready for horses (er' maybe just one) until next year. 

There are times over a horses life that requires a switcharoo. We humans do need to let them work things out. Let them be horses. Within reason. We refuse to throw horses together and watch vicious behavior. Like the horror story a local acquaintance recently told me. "A young four year old mare was purchased and put into a pasture with the resident herd. The nicest calmest gelding beat the crap out of her. She stood shaking in the corner. You could see him take chunks out of her. It went on for days. Eventually it stopped and the young mare was brought in. Bloody and bitten all over both sides."

Who knowingly allows this?!! That poor horse. Not us. Instead, we will continue playing musical horses. Even if it is added work for us.


fast six months

Well, that was a fast six months! On October 10th, Hope turned six months old. A lot has changed, and just as much has stayed the same. 

Perhaps you noticed, I took an unplanned rest-n-reset from Blogging. Somehow my hiatus turned into three months. Sincere thanks to those who reached out. You know who you are.

Life has been good. We have enjoyed a quiet end to a hot dry Summer and start to a cooler wet Fall. These days are all about wrapping up the gardening season, and getting ready for Winter. Along with a continuation of endless projects.

My last post about Hope was on June 27th. Unless you count the July 14th dunk-a-thon video. Those dunk-n-days are long over. Cue a not so brief update of all things Hope:

Daily indoor turnout came to an end.

June 2023

July 2023

August 2023

Hope was weaned at four months. It went well, just some normal calling. In preparation, she spent some time away from Mama Cierra each day. First in the indoor, and then in the outdoor arena.

August 5 (21 sec) indoor

August 6

August 7 (1:04 sec) leading out

August 7

August 7 (22 sec) leading in

August 10 (1:42 sec) outdoor zoomies

(note: arena was intentionally left to grow)

We changed things up, again. Hope began daily turn out alone in a (rotated) paddock in the middle of the upper pasture. Koda & Harmony hung around outside the paddock and kept her company. Cierra was turned out with Nemo in the bordering pasture.

Around 5 1/2 months old, we progressed to turning her out with Harmony. I pulled Koda out of their pasture just before Brad released Hope. We watched interactions for weeks, and really thought the trio would work well together. Hope is stalled between Koda & Harmony. We decided not to risk it after Koda started his usual pasture antics. Sigh. Our Appaloosa geldings have made horse care challenging lately. So far our girls have all been easy.

September 23
Hope being shown the fence line.

Adult horses L-R (Koda, Harmony and Cierra, Nemo)

I believe mixed herds are more natural and ideal. However, we really upset the balance within our mixed herd. We may try putting them all together some day. Maybe. Our current plan is to keep the mares & geldings separate. We are trying Cierra out with Harmony & Hope. Fingers crossed it goes well without incident or (re) lactating. Edited: Girls are all together today! 10/14/23

In other news, Hope got her first (Fall) shots on Wednesday. She is growing like a weed and has had her feet trimmed 3X already. I have yet to see her do the baby mouthing thing. Brad said he has seen it a little.

almost 4 months old

One thing that has not changed, is how much Hope continues to amaze us with her sweet trusting personality. On harder days, she reminds us ~ there is always Hope.