Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Your Horses are Fighting!

It never ceases to strike fear into the hearts of barn pony owners when they see a couple of pastured horses lashing out at one another. "Your horses are fighting!" says the anxious voice. Their pampered babies live in stalls and have individual turn out so as not to get into scrapes. Which is not entirely a bad thing. But my ponies...well, let's face it. They're from the wrong side of the pony world tracks. There is no bubble wrap to keep them safe from bumps and bruises.

It all begins innocently enough, of course...



Wanna play a game?













And while barn pony owners watch in horror, the boys battle it out. Guess this is why the call it horse play, eh? Five minutes later, they're suddenly aware of the small crowd and their play comes to an end.



"Humans....so easily amused."


"Hey...snap my snap, will ya?"

20 comments:

wilsonc said...

I have to admit I'm one who gets fearful when the ponies start playing. Guess it's those great big vet bills for that little tiny cut that does it. Still, I figure they need to be horses, so mine are out with other ponies. I just keep my fingers crossed that all will be well.

froglander said...

My pony doesn't have anyone to play with :( And even though Isis (brother's dog) would like to play, I fear hooves and dogs aren't likely to be a good mix.

Shari said...

Boys will be boys! You should see Icelandics go at it...they play rough.

Tracey said...

Wilson, I sometimes wonder if domestics know how to play 'right'. I watched Sandy, who's a full 6" shorter than Steve Holt!, throw his shoulder out to deflect the blow. They seem to have more movement to their play than most of the domestics I've watched. A survival thing, perhaps?

Frog...we can change that for you!

Shari, I'll bet they do! Little fuzz balls with hooves.

One Red Horse said...

I could spend hours in the general pasture watching the herd antics. We have a new gelding who is in the
"being driven away" stage of joining the herd. Fortunately he is socialized and knows his part in the equine choreography. I see horses engage in intense physical communication - rarely are they injured. The problem comes when a horse has not been socialized in the ways of the herd. Life in stalls or isolation does damage in so many ways.

Strawberry Lane said...

Yep, I'd be ready to dial 911, my vet, the neighbors ...

Glad it was just horse-play.

Pony Girl said...

My horse doesn't have anyone to play with right now. Quite frankly, it would scare me a bit to see that, LOL! Even though I know it's normal and innocent play and I'm sure horses rarely, rarely hurt each other, I would just worry. Probably because while pasture with other geldings, my mom's horse repeatedly got injured from kicks from other horses during play.

Tracey said...

Some horses do need special care. Quiet Storm was a magnet for hind feet, even when pastured with gentle Jet.

I was surprised this evening to find Sandy had held onto his crown, because this morning Steve Holt! appeared to be driving and Sandy retreating. But tonight, Steve Holt! was sweaty and ready to come in, but Sandy made sure he raced around the pasture a couple more times before I could save the long legged baby, lol... Sandy had barely turned a wet hair, either!

Welcome To Wilmoth Farms said...

So glad you posted this!!! I'm about to get into this situation when I reintroduce my two geldings back into the same pasture. My smaller gelding has been with the two girls..Bella, & Molly (the Percheron) being the boss. My old man has been with a yearling - jack for a few months now. They did have Bella in with them but Jack wanted to nurse! LOL so we moved her to make sure he was weaned at the time. But now I want them all together. The small gelding - Buck, has been in with King, and I know the usual tussles will come along with that, not worried. BUT my yearling (Jack) is still a little guy and hasnt been gelded yet (has only 1 noo noo that has dropped) so do you think Jack will mind his place as the youngster or could he get hurt? He sticks to King like glue when he is unsure or afraid, any changes. When we put Molly in (the boss mare) it went smoother than I've EVER seen when horses are introduced! I couldn't believe it 2 half hearted kicks and that was it...funny Molly has become 2nd in line next to king..was surprised at that. Maybe she knows he is older than her and always been the boss just like him. Any way any thoughts you have would be much appreciated!!!!! Or anyone for that matter! I am putting them all in any day now..should I put the small gelding in last so the others can get their pecking order and then bring him in or just go for the gusto?? I just want to be sure my little guy is safe and wont get hurt, he is my concern.

Tracey said...

I think my biggest concern with Jack is that if he's in with a mare, he could breed her at this age. And, if only one testicle has dropped, then you're in for surgery...it's getting late and I'm not sure the other one is going to come down at this point. Have you talked to your vet?

I'd introduce everyone slowly and controlled first. We had Sandy loose grazing and Steve Holt! on the end of a lead to begin with. Second time was only 30 minutes, Steve Holt! had a drag line and I was nearby doing chores. Yesterday I stuck around for an hour as they played and tussled before I left them for the day.

Horses, like boys, will play!

CTG Ponies said...

I love watching them play and all always amazed when they come out of it relatively unscathed. Jet is famous for pulling tails and starting it off.

Angie at Free Rein said...

I'd rather see them play together out in the open than between fences. Check got a hoof stuck between a post and gate and stood that way for about an hour. He was wedged in so tight and had his leg up so high it took 3 of us to get him out. Fortunately, he stood quietly until we could get him out. He suffered some tendon damage but it could have been much worse.

I'm really careful now about keeping the geldings turned out together and putting the mare between them in their runouts at night.

I think domestics tend to get hurt more easily. Check was imprinted at birth and I find that he is the one that gets himself into the most trouble. ??? Just a thought.

jane augenstein said...

Pokey the donkey (1 1/2 old) and Gilly going on 6 play very well together. In a year no one has gotten hurt, Gilly seems to know that Pokey is still a baby and he is easy with him. Gilly always plays nice when he visits my neighbors horse Lacy, Lacy on the other hand will kick Gilly so he as learned to stay out of her way most times. Lacy is the one that kicked me in the back when she was aiming for Gilly!
Jane and Gilly

Stephanie said...

Great pictures - and yup you are right, I my heart always tries to leap out of my chest when they do that crap.

Stephanie said...

Also wanted to say - thanks for your comment on my post.

I do remember that Elijah was take by way of chariot, the story of Elijah is one of my favorites in the Bible, he was one of only two (? i think) people God took straight to heaven and spared them death...., I just sat there and read that and was like "She's right, why haven't I considered that before...?"

That was a very comforting comment - thank you.

Tracey said...

Stephanie, you are more than welcome! Take to heart this, too...the original Hebrew script uses a word that means 'the souls of the sea' when speaking of the creation. That, too, gives hope to all of God's creation having souls worth saving.

Katee said...

ohmygoodness, Carl loves to play! He'd have been right in the middle of all that. If he can't get anybody to play with him, he'll try for a little race around action.

Oh, and my mustang loves dogs. If he can't get any horse to play with him he'll play with any dog available. I worry when the dog isn't very horse savvy, but it always seems to work out since Carl is really not trying to hurt the dog.

I worry that someday a horse owner is going to come along and find Carl's antics scary, but so far everyone appreciates that Carl keeps their horse in great shape!

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Welcome To Wilmoth Farms said...

Got you reply....do you think I should introduce the last mare in now and leave the other gelding out for a few days so that all the others have their pecking order established and then let him in? I'm not concerned if little Jack gets the mare preg...but I'm concerned about him getting hurt. Did any of that make sense? Or just do it all at once and hold my breath?

photogchic said...

Great pics...looks like they are having a great time. Right now the only thing I don't like about my new barn is they don't turn out horses together...I want Maddy to be able to play like that. I am working on it.