Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Pony's Bad Day

It's official~ I have a new pony! What have I got myself into?

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!

Ranch Girl


Anonymous said...

It's his property and his space and she intruded into it, suddenly. I'd be inclined to keep them separated, but where they can touch noses over a fenceline, for a few days, and then introduce them again. By then she'll be more familiar and things will probably be fine.

Jan Blawat said...

I bought a new gelding when my mare started getting older. They never liked each other, both were accustomed to running things. They ended up being okay in their small pasture together (a couple of acres) but I never could trailer them together. It was okay, the mare was pretty much retired in a year or two. Being across a fence for a good period of time does help. I'm excited for you and your new possibilities!

Reddunappy said...

I think you are doing just fine. Its always a shock when they hurt each other. They will settle.
When I got Emma, she wanted to be boss so bad, and Mickey said no, it took them a year to finally settle it! That was nerve wracking at times! Mares! Mickey is a quiet stoic boss mare, Emma is a pushy brat! They still threaten each other but luckly no more fights.

fernvalley01 said...

I think you are handling it just fine, whatever happened may have been a glich , but gowing slow ralrley causes a prblem

cowgirljlynn said...

A new pony, I am excited for you!!

Crystal said...

I think you are doing the right thing. It might have been only a one time thing when she worried her firend was leaving, but might as well let them get to know each other over the fence for a couple days before putting them together again.

BUSH BABE said...

I think it's all quite normal - you are doing fine. His turf. She's new and they need to establish some new rules. In a bigger area she would have gotten away easier as he established his dominance... you were unlucky to have the gate thing happen. They will get to know each other soon - it's early days!
PS Congrats on the purchase -she's pretty!!

Anonymous said...

My advice, take them on a trail ride together. Our new horses have always buddied up with whoever they were on a ride with.

Also, when you do put them together again make sure YOU are calm, as your boy may be feeding off of your anxiety.

Anyway, I am sure they will figure it out and will best buds soon!

Cousin B said...

I'm sure that WAS scary! And, I think you are doing it right, taking it slow. Durango is feeling his oats and declaring his dominance as well. I think coming from a place where he was picked on, he's determined to be Alpha this time. It's upsetting to see them bully, but the others are right, they will work it out before long, and I like the idea of trail riding them together, I think that will help them bond.