Monday, February 21, 2011

Dawn Makes Her Opinion Known

Yesterday, the weather was really awful - hard rain and just barely above freezing.  The horses got some time out in the morning but were happy to come in at noon.  Even though she was wearing a warm blanket, Dawn was shivering when I got her - once she was in and I toweled off her neck and put her fleece cooler on she was fine.  Pie, who was only wearing a rain sheet, wasn't really cold, which didn't surprise me, but he stayed in for the afternoon and overnight to stay warm and dry.

In the late afternoons, after the horses have been brought in from turnout, I almost always go to the barn to check on my two and often do a little grooming.  I usually groom Pie after he's had his dinner before I turn him back out.  Dawn usually gets groomed in the morning before turnout - it just balances out the work.  I usually tie Pie in the aisle to groom him, which puts him in front of Dawn's stall.  This really doesn't seem to bother her too much normally.

But yesterday, while I had him tied in the aisle, I went in Dawn's stall to readjust her cooler.  She had been calm while I was grooming him, but as soon as I set foot in the stall she immediately began attacking the walls and bars with her teeth - she was launching herself with front feet off the ground and ears pinned.  If I hadn't mostly closed the door, I think she would have tried to go for Pie.  She wasn't after me - she was both protecting me and trying to scare him away from herself.  I think she's terribly jealous of him for getting attention from me, and since he chased her down when the herds got mixed by accident, she's been very worried about him.  A lot of Dawn's aggressiveness with other horses comes from fear - this is quite often the case with aggression in horses, both against other horses and people - she's a little thing and I think in prior lives has always had to defend herself and hold her ground to protect herself and get access to food.  Anyway, she's made her opinion of Pie known!

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Before the farrier gets here this morning to put Dawn's missing shoe back on, I'm going to make one more sweep of the dry lot with a magnet to see what turns up.  Here's hoping!

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And everyone needs a picture of a cute, fuzzy, trotting Norman pony to improve their day - thanks, Melissa!

17 comments:

  1. You're very understanding and I agree with you on fear often being a motivator. It happens with dogs too. The little dog who moved himself in with us after leaving a bad situation can act very territorial but if the other dog calmly approaches him and touches him the energy drains right out of him - he's just scared.
    Our smaller Appaloosa will do this around other horses too and I think he was in a situation of competing for food too much in his young life (he was very thin when we got him).
    I hope Dawn grows more secure as Pie is around longer. Kind of scary, even if not directed at you.

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  2. wow that's one ticked off mare !! I'm glad you didn't get hurt and recognized it wasn't you she was after.

    Norman has to be the cutest thing! Love him in his wooly =)

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  3. I think we are suffering from a little jealousy over at my place too. I am not sure what is to be done when a human (me) influences herd dynamics.
    Your Dawn and Pie are separate (except when Pie has a fun escape and visits her!). My boys are together and all three want the loving from me.

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  4. Poor Dawn she does sound a little jealous and put out with Pie. She'll probably get over it as time goes on. Although when I got Dusty years ago Erik was very jealous and didn't like her at all. He tolerated her because he was very kind, but anytime I paid any attention to her you could tell he was miffed.

    Norman is just too cute.

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  5. Well, I guess she told you what she thinks in no uncertain terms! I guess I've been lucky with horses that have gotten along. I've never seen behavior like you describe. She probably would have really scared me!

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  6. I absolutely agree with you about it being a fear thing. Beautiful did the same thing last week during the windstorm, but went back and forth striking the walls with her back feet. She was scared of the other two horses and the wind, but very unusual for her to ever, ever kick like that.

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  7. My mare lords over Betty's gelding. We see it at feeding time and when we're paying attention to them. We make sure we keep them separate when we want to pay attention to them.

    Dan

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  8. That Dawn! :) Mine get jealous all the time, too, although they aren't quite as expressive as that. I'm sure that this too, shall pass, once she figures out that she hasn't been replaced.

    Sorry that you didn't get much warmer temps over the weekend! :(

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  9. Dawn is sure a complex girl. Glad she's got two someones to understand her.

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  10. Fear aggression really does make horses behave badly. My PJ was like that when I first got him as I'm pretty sure he'd been abused on the track. He was actually one of the sweetest and wisest horses I have ever known.

    Good luck with the shoe. I'm sure it will turn up this summer. *sorry, couldn't resist* Maybe the magnet will work!!

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  11. That sure is a cute picture of Norman ....in shaggy glory. Sorry to hear your weather is still miserable. The horses must be grateful to get inside after their time out in the cold and wet. Glad you weren't hurt caught in the middle of jealous wee miss and the gorgeous Pie.

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  12. That sounds like typical "mareishness" to me. haha

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  13. I hope you found the shoe in time for the farrier.

    Poor Dawn. One of my favorite horses at the boarding stable where I used to work was aggressive to other horses. I don't know for sure if his was fear though because he would bully them outside or attack through his stall. He was as sweet as could be to people and his few accepted horses though.

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  14. Sounds like the green-eyed monster paid Dawn a little visit *grin*. It still surprises me sometimes how jealous the horses get over their "people time" (of course it can make you feel pretty darn special too, can't it? :o)

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  15. Poor little Dawn. Thank goodness she has a better life now and doesn't have to fend for herself anymore!

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  16. SCary behavior, that's for sure. I glad you weren't hurt.

    Hopefully you will find that shoe. Seems like here they turn up so long after I needed them, I don't even remember when it was lost. LOL

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