However, Loretta's first day at the ranch did not start well.
A little background~ Loretta has been living at the ranch off and on while her previous owner worked there this summer. So she is accustomed to being at the ranch and has met My Boy over the fence previously when he is here too, which has been off and on all summer.
Her previous owner took her home last week. But when I decided I officially wanted her, she rode her over from her family's ranch yesterday morning, ponying another mare to ride home. After a few hours, we turned out Loretta with My Boy into the large corral (about the size of an arena.) My Boy was so excited and tried to make friends but Loretta gave him the cold shoulder and hung out next to the other mare's corral, unsure as to why she wasn't in with her.
After a few hours, previous owner decides to leave on the other mare. As she was riding out the driveway, Loretta ran up to the front gate to watch her go. My Boy followed her. The next thing I know he is double-barreling her over and over! Loretta is pushed into the corner of the gate by the water trough. I ran down to the corral waving my arms and yelling at him but as it is with these things, it all happened so fast. I think he kicked the gate combined with Loretta pushing on it, and the whole thing falls apart and Loretta escapes out of the corner. She runs up to the other mare and stands next to her as if to say, "Okay, I'm ready to go home now. And get me away from that gelding!"
I grabbed the gate so My Boy couldn't escape. We caught Loretta and checked her out, a few minor scrapes but no blood (I am sure she has bruises though.) We put her in a separate smaller corral. My Boy had a scrap on his fetlock. We put him back in the other corral. Ranch Boy proclaims, "He broke our 30-year old gate!" (I will have to get photos of the gate for you it is quite unique.)
I was so upset by what happened. I thought that integrating a horse into a herd would be much harder then just adding one new horse to another. I know horses kick and bicker as they get to know each other and establish dominance. As I just menioned a few posts ago, I see horses being mean to each other in the herd all the time on the ranch. I guess it's different seeing your own horses doing that to each other! It could have just been a bad timing of events, with Loretta's buddy leaving. For now, I have them in separate corrals. I am feeding them next to the fenceline separating them, and it's going fine.
In fact, My Boy has pretty much been hanging out alongside her corral since the whole thing happened, even more than he stands by Ruby and baby Howdy's corral.
My Boy is such an easygoing horse. He NEVER, in the 4 years I've had him, attempted to kick a horse on the trail (even strange horses) or nip or pin his ears at horses through panels or corrals. In the past before I had him, he was pasture with mares, and this past spring, was with a gelding for a month. He was pasture next to Paint Girl's mares for those 4 years. At the ranch he has strange horses next to him a lot and he's friendly or at least cordial or indifferent, but never aggressive.
Seriously, I was thinking I JUST got this horse, her first day, and she gets kicked and goes through a gate? I got Loretta out last night and walked her around the arena. She seemed to be moving just fine. I worked on circling around me on the leadrope, turning and facing when I asked her to whoa. She did really well, I know she has some round pen work but I am not sure how much groundwork she's had on a line. She is a different horse than My Boy- (other than a slight stubborn streak) she is very loving and affectionate.
Everyone is telling me to put them together again and it will be fine, they'll work it out. I am hoping to try putting them together again in a few days. I will just watch them closely and perhaps not leave them together overnight for a while. We have a lot of visiting horses at the ranch right now so there are a lot of distractions and I don't feel like trying just yet. Also, this will also give Loretta a chance to settle in and get to know My Boy over the fence. Any additonal advice out there?
I will have Ranch Boy take some more photos of Loretta and I in the next day or so and get them posted for you!