Saturday, July 16, 2011

Herd dynamics

Yesterday Melissa and I went to the barn together.  The herd dynamics had changed a bit, the three horses were now moving as a unit together, rather than Manta and Kira as a pair with Lilo trailing behind.  Kira still seemed to be the leader and it will be interesting to see if she maintains that position. 

We took Little Love out of the paddock and this caused some minor distress in Kira and Manta, who stayed at the gate and called out.  After while, however, they walked off, accepting her temporary absence.  Little Love seemed much calmer than the day before.  She stopped to graze in front of the barn door, which meant she was relaxed.  We brushed her briefly after which I took her to the other side of the barn.  It was raining lightly, something that used to bother her quite a bit (if you can remember), but despite the weather, she did much better with leaving the paddock area than before.  We also ventured onto the road and although her stress levels definitely went up, she was able to manage her anxiety.  We never went further than 20 feet from the barn, but that was enough for the time being. 

Next we went inside the barn, but like the day before, this was too much for Little Love to handle.  I think we need to practice standing in the aisle of the barn while the other two horses are inside.  Maybe the company, even if the horses are in their stalls, will help Little Love maintain her composure in the tight space.  It is imperative for her to learn this fairly soon, as she really needs a trim and calling out the trimmer when my horse can't even stay in the barn for a minute, is a waste of time and money.  Not to mention setting Little Love up for failure. 

I won't be going to the barn until on Monday.  I'm hoping this two days on "her own" in the herd will help Little Love establish her place in the group and recover further from the transportation.  Every day she seems to look better, gaining back the lost weight and finding her energy again.  In the mean while I am taking care of "family relations" at the summer cottage.  My family has been more than understanding when it comes to Little Love's needs, but every now and then I need to work on my relationship with my family as well :-)  I think anyone with horses AND a family will know what I'm talking about... it's called human herd dynamics.


  1. So good to hear Little Love is doing so well. It's wonderful to hear the other mares have accepted Lilo so quickly, it seems they've struck a balance so far.
    My family just nickers when they talk to me ...
    They're very supportive and patient! :)

  2. Is there a flat spot right outside the pasture where you could have her trimmed?

    Have fun at the cottage!

  3. It sounds like Little Love is settling in nicely :)

    Griffin is also "iffy" at times when standing in the barn isle (for hoof trims), I find that in the summer months when the barn is very open and airy and the open doors offer a less confined environment) Grif is much more willing to stand and hang out.

    During the winter when everything is closed, Grif finds it much harder to keep his composure without obvious exits. Since Grif is not very food motivated, I really couldn't take that route - though I tried it. What I found to work was to bring him in for the trim - do the trim- and then take him right back outside (usually for a walk which he enjoys). At first, it took a little convincing, but by the end of the winter, Griffin was doing really well with it.

    Having some other horses in the barn also helps a lot...

    Of course Grif and I are still working on this (I want to also work on getting him willing to stand untied in the wash rack as well) so I am very interested to hear how it goes with you and Lilo :)