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Last week when I could only see the three bachelors at feeding time, I was immediately worried about Pepper. It simply wasn’t like her to be off by herself and I thought she must be hurt or sick.

Or worse.

On cue, Bud came running for his grain, so I fed him first, all the while keeping an eye out for Pepper. When I first let Bud through the gate, he hesitated for a moment and looked toward a cluster of three horses in the distance, as if waiting for Pepper. He even called for her.

I saw six cuts/bites/kicks on all sides of his body, and I wondered what in the heck had taken place. I asked him, but he wasn’t saying.

Once Bud finished eating, I went in search of Miss P.

I didn’t have to go far. She and Chickadee were sticking close to their new gelding. When I first approached, Pepper actually turned her back to me and walked away.

Now that ticked me off!

If that’s how you want to play it, fine with me, I thought. I turned and headed to the car.

And she followed me.

Along with Chickadee and Beau.

I guess there’s something to be said for years of conditioning.

When Bud, who was still by the gate, caught sight of the golden boy heading his way, he took off running. It was abundantly clear that he was afraid, and that broke my heart.

This young upstart was ruining my routine and I didn’t like it.

There was no more handing out treats to the Herd of Oldsters lined up along the fence.

There was no Herd of Oldsters. At least not as it used to be.

Instead it was the three bachelors and the ménage a trois.

Pepper was stirred up. She tried to eat her grain, but kept turning to look for Beau.

Little, shy-girl Chickadee took her place at the fence, ready for a snack or six.

And Beau stood watch over his women, like a sultan. I could almost see the turban on his head, the billowy pants, the big tent on the desert.

I didn’t like any of this and I really didn’t like this horse that had stolen the mares from the Oldsters.

How dare he?

Over the next few days I learned that I had to feed Bud and Pepper completely separately. Bud wanted to put miles between him and the interloper. Every time he ran away in fear, I got mad all over again.

Rick got in a power struggle/face-off/meeting of the minds with Beau, to teach him that he wasn’t welcome when the horses were eating. In the end, Rick won and Beau stays at a distance.

Sort of.

Still, Bud wants no part of it. No part of him. He’s still smarting from the beating he took.


And here’s Pepper acting like a young mare all goo-goo eyed and in love. It matters little that she can barely walk on those old arthritic legs. She is responding to behavior bred into horses for thousands of years.

I know that.

Honestly, I do know that these are horses. In case you’re worried that I’ve completely lost my mind.

But I don’t have to like it.


I’ve learned things from this little drama about horses, about myself and about life. Tomorrow I’d love to share the whole shebang with you.

Stay tuned!



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