Speaking of Thanksgiving and food… have you ever noticed that with horses it is “ME, FIRST” no matter what you are serving or how much…?!






I was thinking about this as I fed today…

All of my horses line up and demand to be fed in hierarchy order.  Bosses first, then Lieutenants, next comes Wannabees, then Orbiters.

Now, what is interesting is that it doesn’t matter how much I feed the first Boss up, or what type of feed I give the first Boss up, as long as he/she is first.

Have you noticed this?

Sam, Remi and Rojo.

Sam (Orbiter), Remi (First Lieutenant) and Rojo (Boss)..

AMOUNT

So, today, for giggles, I fed the Bosses of each pasture first, as always… but, I fed them a small amount.

Rojo, Finn and Dodger all received a small amount of grass hay.  But, they got it first and they were happy.

Everyone else was fed in order and they were happy.

The Bosses did not notice that they had received a smaller pile than everyone else – until that small pile was gone.  Then they pushed the others out of their food to claim it for their own.

(Don’t worry, I supplemented the pushees.)

So, the amount of food doesn’t matter, as long as the Bosses are first.

Here we have Rojo eating the first, smaller, pile.  Wannabee Bodhi is in the background, eating a larger pile.

Here we have Rojo eating the first, smaller, pile. Wannabee Bodhi is in the background, eating a much larger pile.

TYPE OF FOOD

I also fed the Bosses the ‘more unpopular’ grass hay.  They received this less palatable hay first – before anyone else was fed.

Now, the unpopular grass hay is very edible and they like it, just not as much as the Orchard they prefer.

As long as I feed the Bosses far enough away from the rest who – were getting the preferred Orchard hay – the Bosses didn’t notice and didn’t care as long as they were fed first – which they were.

So, it doesn’t matter what type of feed they get, as long as they get it first and cannot smell what the others got that might be better.

SHARING

I also noticed that the Bosses refused to share the initial bites of any food with their First Lieutenant until the Bosses had eaten at least a few bites on their own.  Then after those few bites – and if the First Lieutenant bowed and acted ceremoniously submissive – the Bosses allowed the First Lieutenants to nibble at the Boss pile with them.

(At my place, Rojo, Dodger and Finn are the Bosses of their respective Fiefdom pastures.)

Here we have Finn eating with BG, the Orbiter nosing her way in and Wrigley, the Wannabee on the outside.

Here we have Finn (left) eating with BG, the Orbiter – nosing her way in – and Wrigley, the Wannabee furthest away..

FIRST LIEUTENANTS

I have noticed that the First Lieutenant is usually the ‘Muscle’ in the herd.  They are a bit pushy and more hot-tempered and irritable than the ear-flattening Bosses.

I also think the First Lieutenants are always looking for loopholes in the rules, opportunities and places to push through.  Because of this, I have noticed that the First Lieutenants often notice the size/placement of all of the hay piles and choose the one with the most hay and best opportunity.  They don’t always bow to the Boss and nibble their hay.  Often times, FLs go for the biggest/best pile after they’ve successfully evaluated every pile after pushing everyone around while making their evaluations

(At my place, Remi, Slick and sometimes Wrigley are the FLs.)

This is First Lieutenant Remi, who has just pushed Norma Jean away from the green grass.

This is First Lieutenant (the Muscle) Remi, who has just pushed Norma Jean away from the green grass.

WANNABEEs

Wannabees usually frantically circle and bow to the First Lieutenants.  Once the FLs have landed on a pile, the Wannabees do whatever they can to eat with the FLs.  (Sound like High School?)

Sometimes they end up eating the edges of the Boss pile with the Boss and FL.  Sometimes they eat side by side with the FL in his/her pile.  Other times, they rush around, fretting, until they push the Orbiters away from their pile and settle unhappily upon the Orbiter hay.

(At my place, Gwen, Bodhi and Wrigley are the Wannabees)

When Bodhi is with the Mustang Gang (Rojo, Remi and Sam) he becomes the Wannabee.

When Bodhi is with the Mustang Gang (Rojo, Remi and Sam) he becomes the Wannabee.

ORBITERS.

These guys just go with the flow.  They are familiar with being pushed around so they simply go away whenever they are pushed.  These guys (at least around here) know there will always be enough piles and that they need to just leave and find another.  The Orbiters are fairly laid back and comfortable in their positions.  It seems like a choice more than being stuck in the rear.

(At my place, Sam, Norma Jean and BG are the Orbiters.)

Here is Orbiter Norma Jean... coming in for a landing on Boss Dodger's pile.

Here is Orbiter Norma Jean… coming in for a landing on Boss Dodger’s pile.

MAMA TESS – the sequestered Queen.

MT is the respected leader who is tucked away so that her subjects don’t know she is physically impaired.  Being in the barn has saved her face.

She still eats first  (Total Boss demand), but she doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone else to stay first in line.

MT will flatten her ears when any other horse comes near her food (and they run – even though they are on the other side of the fence).   But she doesn’t have to put her money where her ears are, so to speak.

I know that MT knows that she is completely incapable of winning any battles right now, but I keep her secret with me.

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The Queen.

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I just had a fight with Mother Nature – and she won.






ORIGINALLY POSTED IN FEBRUARY, 2011… but tonight I wanted to post this because I feel the same way.  Tonight, I would have rewritten this story – exactly.

I don’t know about where you live, but our winter out here in California has been extremely wet and stormy.

I know I know, all of you with a mountain of snow and ice on your doorstep probably want to wallop me right now… but for us, as with you all, this season has been uniquely wintery.

What’s up with Mother Nature… is she mad or something?

Maybe she is sick of winter, too.  Maybe she is very sad and keeps snorfeling and blowing her nose.  Maybe she just needs a shoulder to cry on.  Actually, that shoulder was probably me today if you look at the condition of my coat…

Yeesh. Soaked.

EPIC RAINFALL

I know it has been epic all over the country, so I will commiserate with you all.  Yup.  It is raining so hard and storming so violently, I really didn’t want to go out there and feed this morning.  I waited for “a break in the weather” to no avail.  I finally told myself that the poor horses had waited long enough and 7:30am is the end of my window.

So, I went out there.

To my surprise, we have a new pond!  Right in our front yard!  I wonder if it will have fish anytime soon?  I’m guessing we will have plague-type frogs this Spring.

Oh, and I think my neighbor’s illegal dam (they do this all over – dam up a stream so that they can make large ponds for their cattle or fire prevention) on the other side of our fence broke.  Yay!  I mean I’m not happy that his dam broke but I am happy that we have our seasonal creek again.  After all, when I bought this property, it was advertised with a “seasonal creek”.  And then, my ahem neighbor decided it was all his and he took it from me.

For the last 5 years, I have only had an all-year trench that looks like a dry fissure through the property.

Anyway, I explored this morning and took several photos of my new old creek!  It comes from a spring at the top of the hill and flows downstream and meets up with Sonja’s property where it flows into a huge lake.  It is nice to be all connected again.

I have my creek back! It comes from above…

And flows all the way down to the lake on my neighbor’s cattle ranch.

INNYS VS. OUTTIES

Do you have some horses that don’t go in when it rains and some that won’t come out when it rains?  Me, too.  I call them the Innys and Outties.

The innys like their Inns.  Bodhi and Remi are like that.  It is good that I have them together since they are like-minded.  I didn’t know that about them when I forced them to room together… but it seems to have worked out.  As soon as the weather comes, all you see of Remi and Bodhi are the humps of their hind ends as they delve deep into their shelter, never to suffer a drop of rain.

Here are Remi and Bodhi… basically dry except for the new rain that is hitting them as they eat

The bad part about the Innys is that I have to coax them out to eat.  You see, unfortunately, the people that built the shelter did a fine job, put they placed it in the wrong direction.  Consequently, it floods.  So, although Remi and Bodhi are dry, their feet aren’t.

There are feeders in there but they are mounted feeders so the hay falls right into the wet mud.  Remind me that I need to get one of those hay feeders that saves hay and is on the ground. I wrote about those a while ago but it wasn’t raining then…

I had to lure my drenched ponies into their shelter

OUTTIES

The outtie horse stays out in the rain.  I have several here.  What is up with that?  I just don’t get it.  Slick and Dodger are the WORST.  Here they are, the littlest and hardest to maintain weight in the winter – yet they refuse to wimp-out and take shelter in the storms.  It is almost like the “little man” complex takes over and they need to show the world that they can take it.

Having them not use their shelter makes me crazy.  I go out there and I find two completely soaked, raggamuffin Sheltands and I suggest to them, “Why don’t you use your shelter?”  They look at me and tell me for the 100th time, “You messed it up by adding the wall.”  (I added the wall so it wouldn’t flood like Bodhi’s and Remi’s.)

Me:  But I had to add the wall or the shelter would have been no good in the winter!

Ponies:  “Well, you ruined it.”

Me:  Awww, C’mon and try it.

Ponies:  “Make us.”

Me:  Alright, I will!  (squeezing through the fence rails and marching into their shelter with hay and grain)

Ponies:  “She’s crazy!”

Me:  There.  Your food is in the shelter.  Take that!

Ponies:  “Fine.  Whatever.  We’ll just push it all out to where we want it after you leave.”

Now, I really shouldn’t worry about them, especially after I’ve written about all the wild island ponies who suffer way worse conditions and do absolutely fine.  I know they have coats like yaks.  Slick sort-of smells like a yak even…  But, it still bothers me.

Sam, the wild horse, is an outtie as well.  She came from Nevada where rain is a wishful thought so maybe she still thinks rain is cool.  Dunno.

This is the offending halfwall that they hate…. I’m taking the photo underneath it

 

TEMPORARY ALLIANCES

I find that storms often create temporary alliances between normally unfriendly horses.

For example, Norma (the donkey) doesn’t really like Mama Tess because Tess terrorizes Norma.  It is really not nice but kinda entertaining.  Norma’s stall door is right next to the gate to “outside” and Tess will reach her neck over the rails and fake-bite at Norma as she runs into her stall.

It is a game to Tess but not to Norma.  I see Norma time her entrance to the stall for when Tess isn’t looking.  Poor girl.

Anyway, I noticed that this morning, after a huge storm, Norma is flanking the rails so she can be next to saged and solid Tess.  Tess is fine with it.  And, I noticed that Norma spent the entire night in her stall which is quite unusual.  I think she hunkered down next to Tess.  Kinda sweet.

We’ll see how long it lasts…

Here is Norma, taking solice next to ‘been there done that’ Tess.

FEEDING IN A STORM

First of all, as I write this, I want to tell you that the rain has turned to snow.

Many of you have fed in a huge storm.  Not fun.  The feed flies everywhere, the hay gets soaked, your best boots want to stick and stay in the mud (have you ever pulled out of your boot and stepped in muck with just your stocking feet? – yup.  fun. )  and your coat becomes authentic camouflage.

The best part about feeding in a storm is how I look afterwards.  My hair appears to have spent several minutes in the spin cycle.  My coat has grown hay seeds all over it and will never be the same again.  In fact, since my coat is drenched, it may actually sprout a seed or two by morning.  And, those of you who have to wear long coats and tall boots to feed in bad weather will definitely understand when I mention the totally wet part between the end of your coat and the beginning of your boots… nice.

The totally wet spot between the end of your coat and the top of your boots…

My boots have become a mud and wind victim.  The mud is up to my shins and the wind has blown seeds inside (nice when the seeds dig into the interior padding, eh?) and also created a mud/seed decoupage covering.

MOTHER NATURE

So maybe we all need to give a nod to Old Mother Nature and perhaps calm her down a bit.  I mean, how often do we salute her or praise her or embrace her effusively?  Maybe she is just lonely and she’s sobbing all over us neglectful subjects…

Mother Nature turned the rain to snow… this is the skylight in my office. No sky, no light.

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JEWELRY THAT BENEFITS THE BUCKET FUND HORSES!  Every donation counts!  Click image to see the new pieces!

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