Yesterday morning the barn owner asked me about trying Little Love and Vicki together in the paddock. Vicki has been hanging out on her own in the small "pikadero" in the yard and for several days now I have been letting Little Love visit her over the fence. In the beginning there was lots of squealing, but for the past two days the two horses have merely sniffed each other and then gone into "hanging out" mode, with a fence between them.
I went for a walk with Little Love and when I came back, we put the horses in the big paddock together. Here are some pictures of them getting to know each other.
I was happy to see Little Love moving, instead of just standing in one spot, something she has been doing ever since she was put in the paddock by herself. The worst part of this is that she seems to park herself close to the gate where the mud is really deep. You can see some of it in the top picture. A few days ago I noticed she has developed some scabbing on her hind legs, a very typical condition for horses that stand in the mud a lot. I have been washing the legs and applying a cream. All I can say is that the condition has not gotten worse, but it hasn't gotten better either. And I don't think it will, until she gets out of the mud. Luckily there are drier areas at the bottom of the paddock, and now that she is out there with Vicky, the horses spend most of their time down there. Here is a picture of them hanging out (sorry, it's a bit dark).
The barn owner is hoping to open up the entire area and let the horses become a heard once again. She has decided to start taking the horses in for lunch to prevent problems from escalating during feeding time. You might remember that especially Manta has "food issues" and removing the feed from the equation should help the four horses find some sort of equilibrium. Lilo certainly thinks they should all be together, I watched her talking to Manta and Kira over the fence today and it was a long and thorough conversation. I, too, look forward to seeing the entire heard together, as I know it will make life more interesting for Little Love. And it will make her move more, which in turn will be good for her feet and her over all health.