Changing Herd Dynamics
|January 15, 2018||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Something very interesting is happening to the herd dynamics of my little 2 pony herd.
Farley has always been the boss mare over ML. Consistently keeping her little baby (and then teenage) attitude in check, never letting her get away with anything, always fairly and consistently enforcing the rules. And always with the right amount of force appropriate to the infringement.
It’s been really amazing to watch and I was so grateful for Farley’s help in not letting ML get too big for her britches. Which ML was trying really hard to do. But trust me, no 2 (or 3 or 4 year old) needs that sort of power.
Then, over the last year I’ve watched Farley gradually treat ML more like a herd-mate than a youngster to keep in line. Farley allows ML to share feeders, there’s a little more give and take with personal space and all has generally been calm in the mare world. This change happened to coincide when I also felt like ML had matured under saddle and no longer rode like a “baby” and was more “greenie coming into her own”.
Overall peace has reigned over the mare kingdom.
That’s all nice and kumbaya and sh*t but let me tell you what happened Friday that was really interesting.
Farley f*cked up within this little dynamic, ML disciplined her, and Farley totally recognized the validity and accepted it.
Times are a’changing.
I had turned the horses out prior to a farrier appointment and was treated to them galloping around for 10 minutes. Beautiful flowing movement of power and grace. They serpentine around each other in this perfect dance that is so much FUN.
And then Farley made a mistake. Beyond the normal give and take of space that occurs when horses are together, Farley crowds ML. Badly. Rudely. Lost her head in the adrenaline of the moment.
ML double barreled her.
Completely appropriate. Not over done. Just an adult horse telling another adult horse that no matter what the pecking order that was inappropriate.
And the look on Farley’s face was priceless.
It was the look that a parent has after their 21-year old kid reminds them they are an adult and deserving of respect and privacy. Mostly sheepish, a little pissed. Oops.
I’ve seen ML attempt to kick at Farley in play and Farley absolutely puts her in her place. This was different. Farley sorta spun and gave a half-hearted swipe but I swear, she knew she had screwed up and accepted the consequence.
ML is bored and getting cocky again. She’s always been a little more “up” in the springtime as compared to Farley and it’s hard for me to get excited about dealing with a bag of teenage mare hormones. I can tell that my reliance on Farley to help me keep her in line is probably coming to an end. ML constantly pushes the boundary of what is allowed. Farley is 19 and I while I feel she will always “be the boss” for the big stuff (like feeding, food pretty much rules Farley’s life), for every day interactions ML is going to start asserting herself more and Farley is going to let her.
It’s going to be an interesting year.
Farley was a little lame after the encounter – it was in close quarters (not a lot of power), ML is unshod on the hinds, and it was in the mass of the chest so I’m not too concerned. Still, at some point this week I would like to go out and make sure it has resolved. #vetpetproblems #shoesforcobblerchildren #notimeformyownpets 🙁