Changin' of the Guard

Things have been a little different here at the farm these past coupla months. Ever since the mules landed, we 6 horses have been together in the pasture as one herd, not 2 herds of 3 anymore. That day, when the Amish mule-owners came to fetch their mules, they pulled up in a dark, mysterious covered cart that was latched onto a horse.

Well I knew all about that pullin' a buggy thing, and it's no big deal. But my pasture mates were truly afraid. I know horse 'n' buggies are NOT the horse bein' chased and eaten by the buggy. But they don't. As many times as horse 'n' buggies pass by our farm, you'd think they woulda figured that out. But a horse 'n' buggy never drug itself into the yard and stopped before, right before their very eyes... Mebbe they thought that poor horse gave up and was waitin' to be the buggy's dinner. My buddies high-tailed it helter-skelter outta the barn area, leavin' me and the mules to fend for ourselves. Some friends. And after that, I WASN'T gonna tell 'em what was goin' on; I thought I'd just watch and be amused for awhile.

The mules were bein' rounded up in the small field, and I went back to grazin' in my pasture with Bo and Tillie, who were hangin' at the fence with the other 3 horses. All of 'em were bunched together on either side of the fence, afraid to go up to the barn, even after the mules and the horse and buggy were long gone. When our person saw the way we banded together at the back of the pasture in suspicion and fear, she thought it was a good time to reintroduce all of us horses as one herd - while all their minds were preoccupied with survival and not with tearin' each other up. It was a good plan and it worked.

Why were we separated? One of us males (I won't point toes) was not gelded and started actin' out downright viciously toward his male pasturemates - gougin' out clumps of hair and flesh, and landin' a bite-to-the-bone on Bo's hind leg, in mid air, losin' a few incisors in the process, from what I heard. That little stallion knocked Bo down a peg or more in the peckin' order. Poor Bo was runnin' scared. He had already lost ground since his feet got really sore. The little stallion was just too serious, and way too unpredictable and mean to have me "safely in the same enclosure with him," said our person. He sure did tear into me a few times, but not near as bad as he beat up on Bo, for some reason. I don't get in the middle of those kinds of messes anymore, so I can't say what the problem was between 'em. It appeared that both wanted to rule the roost, or more like it - the mares. Bo was sure takin' a lickin', so Bo and I were put in our own field and Equinox (oops, that slipped) was gelded. Tillie, a thoroughbred mare, was put in with me and Bo to even things up 3 and 3. Tillie headed our group; a young mare (and Equinox on a bad day) headed the other. It stayed this way for the better part of a year.

Anyway, back to mule-day. When the dividin' gate was opened and we had free run into each other's fields, Bo and Tillie left me again and trotted over to their side, cautiously joinin' them. Then they milled around a little, all the while lined up like a buncha compass needles, pointin' their pricked ears toward the barn. They wouldn't even go up for water; they went back to drink from the creek. I tried to go to the trough at the barn and Bo came trottin' to head me off, drivin' me to the back of my pasture again, tryin' to protect me from the bad buggy. I tried again, got stopped again. He looks out for me, but this was gettin' ridiculous. He was runnin' nilly-willy back and forth from my field to theirs like a mother hen, not actin' at all sore on his feet. I sure was gettin' thirsty; I thought for a moment maybe I should give in and explain what the horse 'n' buggy was about …  naaah.

Ever since Bo got that Martha Oleevio trim, or whatever her name is, he's been standin' and movin' tons better. (I just think I shoulda been the one to get to go meet Martha, 'cause I'm the oldest, and my feet hurt too. It ain't fair…) Bo had been clingin' to me like static for a long while (he couldn't boss anybody else around!), but then he started bossin' Tillie around again.

Well, he sure seemed to be in charge of us all that day of the buggy. Bein's that there were no sparks between him and Equinox I kept what I knew about buggies to myself - and the good grazin', for once. Bo seemed to be gettin' around real good on his used-to-be-sore feet and nobody was thinkin' about arguin', just stayin' away from the buggy. They stayed real close together and when Bo was snoozin' I finally wandered up to the trough and got my drink. Aaahhhh.

Since then Bo's been the one in charge and I've had my feet properly trimmed too. His feet feel good now and he can move pretty dang quick again for his 20-somethin' years. He leaped back up to the toppa the peckin' order, but it was a pretty uneventful changin' of the guard. The boss is back.                                                              

Happy Trails, P-pot