Thursday, September 8, 2011

That winning combination

We have progress!!  I am soooo happy I could just about bust!!  I'm talking about our little herd of horses and the integration of our new horse, Eagle.  Hubby and I were so pleased this morning with the progress that it's just humbling.  There's really no better word to describe it...humbling.  Horses never fail to amaze me, and in so many ways.  They are amazing, amazing animals and I feel blessed to have them in my life - our lives.  :) 

For the past week or so, we've been ever so slowly introducing Eagle in a smallish pasture, one at a time, with one of his herdmates.  Everybody except Harley - wasn't quite ready to go there, yet.  Remember that I was torn with exactly how to approach this.  So...when in doubt, go with your instincts.  Start out with the top dog and the rest will/should be a cake walk.

We started with Shad and Eagle together in the corral and 3 piles of hay at morning feeding time.  Refreshed from a long, cool nights' rest and hungry...perfect, right?  It went swimmingly!  There were a few sideways looks, a few cocked ears, and a few of those "hairy eyeball" moments; but neither horse was very interested in a retake of the kicking match that had taken place the week before.  Enough time had passed that the lesson, apparently had lodged itself in their brains.  Never underestimate the power of a little time to cement a lesson in ones' mind - equine or human...I'm just sayin'.

Eagle has that perfect, and apparently winning combination of complete and utter self-confidence mixed with just the right amount of humble respect.  And with Shad, it worked like a charm.  You don't worry me one bit, but I respect you and your, can we be friends?  We left them together for a couple of hours and they sniffed, they switched hay piles, they walked around each other...and eventually, they even shared a few bites from the same pile.  Hallelujah!!!!  We have the beginning of a relationship and we couldn't be happier. 

And, this morning - quite by chance, the gate was left open again...and again, Eagle spotted it almost immediately and proceeded to saunter with the confidence and grace of an Olympic athlete right into the middle of the herd and pick a pile and start eating.  Kadie, the little old lady (Shad's little old lady to be exact) of the bunch, made a beeline to Eagle, ears pinned and put her nose on his and promply squealed loudly and strike out.  Eagle responds by lifting his head out of harms' way...and then continued to eat his breakfast.  Kadie stood there for a moment, and then went back to her hay as if nothing happened.  Too funny.  Shad merely watched, mildly interested, and resumed eating.  This is too good to be true! 

Now it's Harley's turn.  Harley's the horse that's almost completely blind.  Harley doesn't have a mean or aggressive bone in his body.  He goes directly to Eagle and assumes the "groom me" position...Eagle continues to eat.  Harley decides to share Eagle's hay.  Eagle could care less.  At this point, hubby and I are beyond speechless.  We are quite honestly, stunned! 

Ladde's quite another matter.  Ladde also felt the "great guns" of Eagle's kicking prowess and remembers that little lesson all too well.  He has a very healthy respect (possibly even a little fear) for Eagle and isn't quite so anxious to resume their acquaintance; but Ladde's also non-aggressive and with some time, he'll come around, of that, I have no doubt. 

What really surprises me the most, is that Harley and Eagle seem to be forming the closest bond of friendship.  I didn't expect that.  In fact, I was the most worried on Harley's behalf.  Go figure.  No matter how well we think we may know our horses, and no matter how adept we may believe that our "reading skills" of equine behavior are...we are infants compared to horses reading one anothers' instinctual body language.  *sigh*  As long as I may live, my hat is off to the amazing horse. 

So, to say that we are pleased with our, or I guess I should say, their progress thus far, is an understatement.  We are infinitely pleased...and ever so thankful, and feeling abundantly blessed at this most recent turn of events. 

I just keep telling myself to breathe...

it will all work out in its' own time.  Not mine. 

Blessings all,
Lorie @ Cingspots 


Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Great news! I am about to get a new one and put her with My Boy and I am pretty nervous about it. MB is so easy-going and so is the new one so I'm sure it will be fine, but I've seen so many of the ranch horses pick on each other, I hate it even though I know it's normal.
I am excited to see more photos of your beautiful Eagle, I love the story and forwarded your posts to my sister, the Mustang lover. Is he broke to ride? Have you ridden him yet?

Mary said...

Herd dynamics are so fascinating to me. I love to watch it. Just when I think I've figured it out, something different happens to throw my theory out the window. I am so glad that everybody seems to have found their place and are getting along. Ahhh harmony!

Anonymous said...

So glad it's going well and that Harley is OK.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm happy to hear that they are working it out peacefully. Eagle sounds like a real character. I've always felt if you introduce them the way you did and then leave them alone they will sort it out for themselves in time. I'm glad no one got hurt.

fernvalley01 said...

So glad it worked out well!

Leah Fry said...

I love it that Harley has found a friend and possibly a protector.

panthercreekcottage said...

How wonderful for you all. I'm so happy. See, Eagle was made for your family. Go ahead and breathe Lorie darlin'.

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

Just had to pop back over and share my morning horse intergration story. I put my new mare, Loretta (Lo) in with my gelding (in a large corral) earlier today and things were fine, except she pretty much ignored all his attempts and advances to hang out and be friendly. So it's hard to explain, but Lo's previous owner rode Lo over to deliver her, ponying another mare to ride home. So when they started to ride away to go home, Lo panics and runs up to the fence a bit distressed and my gelding follows. Lo is in the corner of the fence by the gate and suddenly My Boy turns and starts barrel-kicking her repeatedly! I go running to the gate to shoo him away and by then Lo has (and I think MB had kicked the gate once or twice) broken though and out of a 30 year-old wooden ranch gate. What a nightmare. Luckily everyone seems okay, MB got a minor scrape on his coronet and I'm sure Lo has some bruises but it made me sick to see him do that to her! Now I am SO worried about putting them back together (they are across the fence from each other.) I know sometimes mares and geldings won't work out together and perhaps being around him is causing her to come into heat. I think I will give them a couple days of friendship over the fence (they have done that previously as Lo was here at the ranch last month) before turning them loose together again. Like you said in your last post, I just dread a severe injury. I have seen the herd of ranch horses chase, bite, and kick out at each other often but it's different when it is your OWN horses. Anyway, any other advice you have would be great. Have a good weekend!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Let me tell you something about mustangs. They are very ready to take care of another horse if they need taking care of. Our horse Pepper has coliced twice. Both times we found him with the other mustangs circling about him and forcing him to get up. Keeping him moving. When he would lay down they nosed him and pushed him to get up. The first time he coliced, we were in the next field pulling a calf. We could not stop in the middle and go take care of a horse too. When we got to him, we took over and the horses let us. Basically that is what I noticed the other horses doing when he coliced the second time. They are wonderful caregivers and I am sure he will be a big help to Harley. Isn't it awsome. A friend lost her old friend a few weeks ago and her other mustangs grieved and stood under the tree where she buried him, heads down in mourning for several days. It was awful. So all those words to say that I am not surprised that a mustang would take to your blind boy. Isn't it wonderful.