A while back, I asked what I could show y’all, hoping to hear what you, friendly readers, want to see around the Farm.
Facebook follower Janine (who, btw, is a very talented jewelry designer…check out her page North Sun Studio…you will be amazed at her creations!) asked some wonderful questions that I’m looking forward to answering with photos.
Today, I’m tackling…
Who is the real boss of the barn?
Well, we don’t have a barn, just a simple 3 sided shelter, so the short, sassy answer would be no one. 😉
However, if we’re going to talk about who the boss mare of the herd is, that’s different.
With 4 mares in a small herd like ours, there can be some fluctuation, but for the most part, these Girls are pretty set in their ways.
Lead mare is Ruby…
Ruby is not our youngest horse, but she is the most headstrong. She took leadership right away, when they arrived.
When we had problems with the neighbour’s dog coming to visit, Ruby had no qualms about taking her on. She even tried with the coyote we had issues with. Problem was, coyote doesn’t play fair. Trickster was himself, and horses are more straightforward than that. It was the one time Ruby had to let Hubby protect the herd.
For a younger horse, she does a pretty good job of protecting her cohorts. 🙂
Cookie is second in command…
She could run the herd, if she wanted to. She doesn’t want to. She’d rather be off doing her own thing. But, the other 3 know not to get between her and the food. She’s not a piggie, but she’s been shorted far too many times in her life. She knows that feeling of a hungry belly and she don’t like it.
We have a rule that there is no asshat-ery allowed while hay gets put down. Respectful behaviour (no kicking, biting, trying to run humans over, and leave the hay wagon alone…it’s not a trough) or you wait for the human to allow you into the food.
If the rough housing goes on too long, the hay wagon leaves and no one gets…Cookie will step in and discipline the 3 long before it gets to that point. And if Cookie steps in to mete out discipline, the other 3 run for it. She has no real interest in starting shit, but she will, sure as the sky is blue, put an end to it.
She is, I think, our oldest Girl, both in age and body aches.
Next up is Astrid…
Astrid wants Ruby’s job. She wants to be Lead Mare so freakin’ bad! LOL!
Problem is, she’s our youngest Girl, and it shows.
That neighbour dog I mentioned? Last time she came over, when Ruby snorted, challenged and charged, Astrid hid behind a tree.
It was super cute, but not a leader’s move, for sure.
Ruby has put her in her place a few times, and she’s figured out that a direct challenge to Ruby’s authority is just going to get her a butt kicking. Lately, she’s been pushing Cookie around. Again.
I noticed a few extra bites and kicks on Cookie during the summer, and wondered what the heck was going on between her and Ru…well turns out it was Astrid.
Until Cookie had enough.
And now little miss Astrid gives the black and white one a wide berth…We went through this last summer too, and I told Astrid then…Don’t pick a fight with Cookie. You. Will. Not. Win.
She didn’t listen then, and she ain’t listening now. She’s getting no sympathy from me.
And last, but never ever the least…
Sable is our Omega, bottom of the herd. Always has been, likely always will be. But…she is our Girl that everyone goes to for comfort. She is solid and steady. Our rock that everyone, equine, feline and human alike, can lean on.
For example, when I push Cookie out of her comfort zone, like with the pink halter, Sable is there to show her, hard things aren’t hard if you a. trust your human, and b. trust her, Sable, to keep you safe.
Sadly, part of being an Omega means she is often the scapegoat too…
Astrid gets soundly trounced for pushing Cookie or Ruby?
She takes it out on Sable.
Cookie is grumpy?
She takes it out on Sable.
Ruby just wants to remind every one who the boss is?
Yep, you guessed it, Sable is the one who gets made an example of.
That why I’ve learned so much equine first aid!
Bites, kicks, cuts, scrapes…yeah, I can treat ’em all pretty effectively.
Sable is, to my best guess, around the same age as Cookie. I call them my Old Ladies. Though, Sable does Old Lady way better than Cookie does: