in the herd…

it’s coming up on three months here..the four rescues have explored, relaxed, revealed their personalities, settled in..settled in physically and mentally..when first here they were “two fences” apart from horses living here..over the years having watched many ways of introducing horses and being in no hurry have settled on “two fences” at first whenever possible..the new ones in an area where the others can see them but not visit over one fence..especially when it’s two established herds..even very small “herds”..each has their leader and meshing the two can be tricky..with two fences usually they adjust and settle and go about their own business ..after awhile will move the horses so only one fence is between..sometimes there can be fighting or rough housing with the fence taking the brunt of the introductions.. so two fences at first and after a few weeks the one fence..there was some horse-play  over the fence and some interaction but not as much..during the last two months an occasional ranch horse would be put in with the rescues..one that appeared the least interested..or one that appeared to have made friends over the fence..one of the ranch herd in with the rescues so the rescues would be more secure..not a rescue in with the ranch herd to be totally out numbered and possibly picked on, kicked or bitten..over the weeks the mini-donkeys were added and removed..older geldings were added and removed.. a mare was added and removed..so little by little the horses showed their compatibility levels..when the day came to integrate the herds the majority blended uneventfully..
  
one or two known instigators were left in another pasture to let the majority calmly graze with their “over the fence” friends who now moseyed around side by side all day ..moseyed around..but with one thing very very clear..Jade was extremely protective of Sampson..she stayed by his side and if felt the need to protect moved herself between him and a curious new friend..does she see him as a mate?..or is it because he is still catching up to the rest as far as mobility?..only she can say..
   
the telling event would be eating together..as the sun started to set and the herd wandered slowly to the barn to wait for piles of bermuda hay to be placed along the fence line..have noticed with the ranch herd there is less jockeying for position if the hay is in a line along the fence vs away from the fence out in the middle area..and always putting out more piles than there are horses to assure no one will end up without something to eat makes feeding time more serene..as they stand and wait something interesting occurs..all but three ranch horses walk to another area to eat..to stand and ask to be fed by another fence..an older gelding and two mares stay and eat with the rescues..
     
their first dinner with other horses..and I wonder..did the ranch herd decide to go easy on them?..did the ranch herd decide they might get better or more hay in the other area?.. did some not want to eat with the newbies?..who knows..just find it interesting how they problem solve….how it is in their world..how they teach me..and how they continue to find new things to teach me..
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