Sunday, June 26, 2011

Milo Get's a New Pasture-Mate

It is well known that Milo lived in a pasture with another boarder's horse, Jake. They have happily enjoyed each other's company for the last year. When one would leave, the other would call to him. They formed a close friendship. But there were some downfalls - we constantly had to monitor the grain intake Jake was getting. It was important that Jake get all of the medications in his grain, and Milo would not consume it. But Milo regularly got far less grain per day than Jake, so naturally he would finish quickly, and Jake, not one to defend the grain he did not desire so much anyways, always relinquished the excess grain to Milo. We always seemed to work around this, be it through adjusting when they each got fed, standing there and warding off Milo until Jake finished, or feeding Jake separately outside of the pasture. Needless to say, feeding was always a hassle and we never seemed to get it just right.

Most recently we all discovered, that Jake is insulin-resistant and can no longer live on the lusciously sugar enriched grasses of the pasture. We tried making sure he was getting a 24 hour muzzle kept on, but he was depressed for it, and even more finicky on drinking water with it on (a problem he already had). Finally, with vet recommendation, it was decided that he would have to be moved to a dry lot. At his age he certainly couldnt stay in a stall and run, but who would give up their dry lot for him? There is no abundance of them at the facility. It was decided, however, that one would, and so Saturday morning was the date we could all get together and make the introductions.

Meet Diego.

Clearly, Milo still wants to remain top-dog. 
Diego is owned by Painted Valley (he was my friend Heather's barrel horse some time ago), but is now full leased by someone and kept at the facility. Diego is a big boy, as you can tell from the following photos, and is being ridden with dressage principles in mind. He shares a personality much like Milo - big and goofy. I think they should get along fine. But here is how it panned out.

A brief introduction over the fence, and Diego was then led into the pasture, and halter removed. We let him trot around for a while, taking in his new home, as I held Milo with a halter and lead. Milo was highly interested, but remained firm next to me. Finally, I unclipped the lead line, and Milo trotted straight away at Diego.

An initial touch of noses, then Milo veered to the rear of Deigo. Diego responded by double barrel kicking out to Milo, but made no contact (to my relief - Diego is fully shod). Milo was absolutely taken aback by this manner, and he snorted and pranced around the pasture, disbelieving that his rein of King of the Pasture could be over. The trotted out more, bucking and leaping for more good measure. I missed the best theatrics on camera, but managed to get some.

Mom, who is this horse in my pasture?

Haha - you can barely see Milo behind Diego. He certainly has size on Milo. 
A good-bye to Jake before leaving to our lesson. 
I was nervous that the excitement in the air would carry over to our lesson. But fortunately the half hour drive seemed to relax Milo, and he was quiet and calm as we arrived at the lesson (more on that in another post). But when we returned home through the back driveway, now where Jake was located, they let each other know the other was there, and Jake trotted the fenceline with us as the boys called back and forth to each other.

With time, they should dissolve their attachment to each other. It took a while initially for Jake to get close to Milo after Covergirl left for the school year last September. Hopefully Milo and Diego can form a friendship together soon, and an agreement over dinner-time. I suspect that they should do fine.

When I brought Milo back into the pasture, they touched noses...

 And went their separate ways.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Glad Milo and Diego seem to be settling in together.

For feeding multiple loose horses in a turnout, and being sure each gets all of/only their own grain and supplements, nothing beats feed bags - they can be made up in the feed room, carried out and put on each horse - you do have to wait for them to finish in order to take them off but that's the only nuisance. I've used them before and Melissa at Paradigm also uses them.