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It seems our summers are taking on a predictable pattern. That is if you can count two years in a row as a pattern.

The other night when we went out to feed our two old sweeties, I had to walk into the pasture to find them. That was surprising, since they are almost always right at the gate waiting for us.

At the far end of the pasture I found Bud, Pepper and…

a young black and white Paint gelding.

Yup, you got it.

Miss Pepper has a new boyfriend.

Again.

Apparently, our thirty-year-old mare is hot stuff in the pasture.

The three watched me approach.

Nobody moved.

At first I didn’t get it. I thought they were just hanging out together.

I called and they looked right at me, unmoving.

I’m something of a slow learner!

The deal is, Bud was NOT about to leave Pepper with this interloper, this intruder, this disrespectful young whippersnapper.

No matter how badly he wanted his dinner, he stayed with Pepper.

He’s one loyal Appaloosa.

Eventually, they decided a pan of grain sounded pretty good.

Pepper broke out and  took the lead, Bud followed, and pulling up the rear was the Paint.

He’s young and new to the pasture, and frankly the Herd of Oldsters is somewhat of a safe place to ease into the herd.

No one chases you off.

Or kicks the you-know-what out of you.

As long as you mind your manners, they accept you.

Mostly.

But really, did he have to conscript my mare?

He couldn’t just use the Oldsters as a stopping point on his way into the herd?

Apparently not.

Amigo and Red want nothing to do with him. They didn’t come for their treats, which is quite unusual.

Red, our resident Mustang, seems especially disgusted.

Of course a few years back, he was “the boyfriend.”

This as of yet unnamed Paint is a handsome boy.

And I expect he’s a nice enough horse.

To his credit, he’s accepted Bud. And there’s been no kicking – at least not that we can see. If you recall, last year, Fred was much more aggressive. He hurt Bud and we did NOT like him at all. We were extremely relieved when that affair ended and Fred left the pasture.

“Don’t let the gate hit you in the rear end on your way out,” was our comment when he left.

And now we start again.

As the Pasture Turns, Season Two.

Stay tuned….

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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