I have a routine when I arrive to the horses. First, I let pony out to the alley so she can get some limited grass grazing and fraternize with her Arabian buddy, R. Then ZZ spots me and her curiosity drives her down the fence to come check me out. I also let her out to the alley because she is big buds with R and they only get to gossip when I do this as they are pastured separately.
I take that time to clean pony paddock, and in that time, Big Guy wanders down and decides, “well if the girls are going to hang out with this human, I guess I will do so too though it usually means work *grumble* *grumble*” And I let him out to the alley. After a bit of play time, I choose one of them to work, usually whatever horse seems to be curious about what I’m doing but lately it’s been Big Guy as his rehab is top on my list.
See, I know from keeping him in a larger herd (about 9 horses) that he is Top Dog. He stakes his claim on his females and then all males need to recognize that. This was very helpful because he looked after Dear One (who was a Loner) and made sure she got her fair share of the hay pile.
He likes geldings and will happily play with them as long as no one is making a move on his girl. So if I turn them out in the back pasture, I turn him out with the girls only, or I turn only the girls out with R, or I turn BG out with R. No mixed herd because I don’t own R and BG’s protectiveness was causing him to race around like a chicken missing it’s head and considering the state of his leg I didn’t want that to continue at this point.
When ZZ arrived, he told her how the cow at the cabbage (as my mom would say), and she got disciplined and shoved off feed, desirable areas, or for my attention. When he got injured though, he felt too horrible to even bother with it, and ZZ got a bit full of herself like a child that has been given leave to take any amount of cookies from the jar, bounces on the bed till the springs break, and basically leaves a path of destruction behind without a care in the world!
I was glad to see that the Big Guy had decided that ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH! Yesterday, he firmly put her back in her place and told her to move off – and she did… so that is probably the best sign yet that he is almost fully recovered!