There's a new mare in our herd, and she went out for the first time Monday, after spending several weeks in a pen next to the mare pasture. The new mare - her name is Misty (our mare herd now has a Misty, a Missy, a Maddie and a Maggie - M must be for mare) - is the buckskin on the right. She's Impressive bred and a HYPP carrier, although she's never had any symptoms, and had two foals (before her current owner) - the QH industry bears a lot of blame for perpetuating this genetic problem to the detriment of horses. But she's a very sweet mare.
The small sorrel mare approaching from the rear is a mustang mare who makes a practice of very aggressively chasing new horses and biting them and then whirling and trying to kick them - she's sneaking up and Misty seems unaware (photos by Misty's owner):
The new mare is pretty much attached to Dawn at the hip - she knows Dawn from a long history together at our old barn - Dawn moved from there three years ago. Dawn and this mare were never special friends, but Dawn tolerates her, within limits - she'll snap at her for clinging too closely, but will also get between her and other mares who are trying to be aggressive.
The first couple of days, there was lots of running and chasing, and a lot of chaos - the new mare and Dawn (in rain sheet) are at the back of the melee in this photo - the buckskin mare at the front can also be quite aggressive:
At one point Dawn actually slipped and fell on her right shoulder during a chasing episode, but thankfully she seems to be OK. The new mare has several big bite marks and also got kicked at least once in the butt that I saw - no serious injury from that. Herd introductions are sometimes stressful, but horses benefit so much from turnout with other horses.
Things seem to have settled down a bit by today - there's less chasing and running, but Dawn and the new mare aren't getting much to eat at the bales, and I've been giving Dawn some hay after our rides to compensate. The new mare is now tolerated by a couple of the other mares, and I think things will be OK within a few days.
Today was actually a five-ride day - it's been a number of years since I rode that much. I rode Dawn and Pie in the morning - Pie's been coping very well with the distractions and the unusual ride time all week.
There's a lady at our barn whose horse has permanent unsoundness due to fetlock issues, and our barn owner kindly is allowing her to ride one of her paint horses - a nice gelding named Blue. The lady was having some issues with him in her ride - he's different from her old horse - and really didn't know what to do. She asked if I would get on him, to see how he's be for me, and I said sure - we let the barn owner know and she was fine with it. I did a few minutes of leading work to be sure he understood my personal space, and asked him to stand still on a loose rein for mounting - he did although she'd had trouble. He turned out to be a lovely horse, very sensitive, well-trained and responsive, and he rode very well for me. The lady was worried that she didn't know how to ride him - her old horse was much heavier in the bridle and she was used to using a lot of leg - she was very nervous and that made him worried - but I told her she just needed to have a plan of what to do if he did things she didn't expect. She'll ride him again on Monday, and I told her I'd be there to help her out if need be. I think she'll be fine with him - he's very willing and responsive - but she needs to relax and sit up and breathe and not haul on the reins when she's worried - just softly turn him - if she can do that, he'll be fine for her.
And then later, I rode Missy and Red. All horses were excellent - it was a very good horse day.