Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Change of Plans

I spent some more time this morning watching Pie and Drift interact in turnout.  When I turned Drift out, Pie was grazing with Scout and Fritz.  Drift drove him off, but Pie didn't go too far away - that didn't look too bad.  That happened a few more times.  If that'd been all that happened, things would have been OK.  But next thing, Drift started leaving the group of geldings and aggressively running Pie at high speed down the fence line to the far corner - Pie has an unfortunate habit of sticking to the fence line nearest the barn and then allowing himself to be trapped in the corner (I hate pastures with right angle fence lines as they're dangerous, but's that what our barn has).  Thankfully, once Drift had Pie pinned in the corner, Drift would only threaten to kick him rather than actually kick him - if he had kicked there wouldn't have been much Pie could have done about it trapped in the corner.  Every time Pie would try to come down the fence line towards the gate, Drift would run him down again.  This also meant that Pie wouldn't have been able to reach the water tank. By the time I intervened, Pie was standing in the corner, looking stressed and not grazing.  I managed to grab Drift - who didn't want to be caught - and took him out of the pasture, and put him in a separate pasture.  Pie went back to grazing with the other geldings.  Pie's up to 4 1/2 hours of grazing, so he isn't out at night with the other geldings yet, but he should be soon as his feet seem to be coping well with the grazing.

For now, Drift will be having solo turnout - he's in sight of other horses and can even sniff noses with the mares under the electrified fence.  I can't explain it to him, but if I could I would tell him that if he wants to act like a stallion, he can be treated like one, and at this point solo turnout is best.  Not ideal from my point of view, but we can cope and Pie will be a lot happier.

14 comments:

  1. That's too bad--but sounds like the best course of action for everyone. You have to wonder why this happens between certain horses and not others.

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  2. I don't know what else you could do. I would handle it the same way. It's not worth having Pie get hurt -- or Drift if Pie were to feel trapped and lash out in his panic. Drift seems a bit of a bully in turn out and unable to play nicely at recess.

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  3. Never ending saga. I'm sure you'll figure something out that works for everyone.

    Dan

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  4. Poor Pie. Usually I'm an advocate of letting them work it out, but I think that's more in cases where they'll be together day and night. Where they're on partial turnout, I think you did the best thing.

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  5. My goodness, that's a lot of gelding drama. Maybe the mares will give him some advice over the fence line.

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  6. I always hate integrating horses like that, since I'm a serious worrier! I'm glad it wasn't anything bad, but I'm sure it was stressful to watch. For me, what works is putting the submissive horse into the new herd, and removing the bully, then after a bit (when the submissive horse is integrated well) adding the bully back in. Doesn't always work, and definitely wouldn't try it with a serious bully (one that will do more the posture or mild chasing).

    Not sure I'm any help at all though, because that sounds like what you're doing!

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  7. As interesting as I find Herd Dynamics to be, it always upsets me when I see other horses bullying my girl. Missy, like Pie, it super submissive and tends to get picked on a lot by more dominant horses. It's frustrating, but I think you made a good choice by taking Drift out of the pasture. As you said, studly geldings can get treated like stallions. Hopefully you can find a solution that works better for all horses involved (though I get the feeling that as long as Drift has his mares, he's fine! LOL).

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  8. I think you're on to something with giving Drift a time out to think things over. I never like when a horse gets trapped in a corner it's dangerous. We had that happen with a mare years ago when we boarded and the other horse kicked her so hard he cracked her stifle. Hope this works.

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  9. I wonder what it is about Pie that Drift doesn't like... it is interesting how some horses just don't get along. Sounds like you've got a good plan going, though. Definitely don't want either horse getting injured, especially since Pie seems to be so sensitive to the heat.

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  10. Some horses just don't play well. It's always been odd to me. Wish they'd figure out how to mature out of it.

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  11. I've seen this dynamic at work many times at Iron Ridge. Often, it involved a certain crazy Appy I once owned who still has no clue he's a gelding. They're such a PITA!

    Dang, I sure envy all the time you get to spend with your ponies. I'm lucky to spend a few hours twice a week with mine now that they're boarded.

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  12. Good solution. It was exactly what we had to do with my friend's horse who did turn out to be a crypt. But my guy, Toby, who was definitely not a crypt as acting like a stud too when the other horse was in the herd. The crypt kept beating up my older guy, PJ, if Toby was not out there to protect him. We got the aggressor out of the mix and the herd was fine.

    I wonder now, if Pie's apparent heat exhaustion issues were actually metabolic or stress related, as well as lacking water, from being out with Drift.

    Never quite can feel sorry for a bully, so Drift's being alone is what he deserves. Glad you have the paddock space and fencing to do it.

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  13. Good solution. Since Drift obsesses about the other horses, and is a danger to Pie and potentially to himself, it makes sense to take him out of the mix. Interesting comment from Jean about the possible cause of Pie's heat exhaustion being Drift.

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  14. I really enjoy your blog. I'm a horse trainer myself, and would love to connect with you.

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