Monday, June 15, 2009


When the horses first started going out to pasture this spring, I put RT (Royal Tardez), the 29-year-old Arab retiree I keep for a former riding student, in with Misty, so that they could "bond." Since losing my old pensioner, Corky, last winter, I needed a new "weaning baby-sitter" for Misty's foal, and RT fit the bill. He had actually been in with Beth and Amy last summer, and considered them his "herd." Now I needed him to switch herds.
When I started keeping Misty in a night, the week before she was due, RT insisted on being in the paddock immediately outside. When she went into labor, I tried to move him to his own, adjoining paddock, but he threw a fit, so I let him back outside the foaling stall. Here he is, checking on "his" new foal.
After that night, however, Misty must have had some choice words for RT, as he was content to be "next door," and actually spent a lot of time where he could see the older fillies. Now that Misty and the baby are out on pasture, RT, spends most of his time adjacent to them in the next pasture. Saturday evening I spotted Jackson making friendly overtures to RT through the fence. RT was sufficiently reticent, and Misty did not seem to mind.
So today I decided it was time to try them together. I fed Misty and Jackson their morning grain in the pasture, as I have been doing, and slipped Misty's halter on. This way I could snap on the lead when RT came out, to keep a little bit of control of the situation, since it would be Misty who would most likely be the aggressor, in protecting her baby (RT is your basic wuss). RT, however, had other plans. I had fed him in Misty's paddock, and just looped the chain over the gate while I went to feed the girls. I also wanted to wait until the power company crew that was working out on the road had finished , so that there was not this additional source of stress for mama or baby. RT finished his grain, knocked the gate a time or two, and let himself out to the pasture. I came back to find RT and Misty grazing peacefully about 50 feet apart, and 200 feet from the crew. Jackson seemed more concerned about avoiding the morning flying pests than about RT.

Although he watched RT, Jackson initially did not wander too far from Mama.

Still watching.

Jackson moved a bit towards RT, and started to lie down.
Misty decided that was too close and came between them and herded Jackson away a little bit.
This was the only threatening gesture she made all morning.
Only moments later, and she was back to eating, and didn't seem to mind when Jackson moved through the 20-25 foot space between the two adults.
All this meetin' and greetin' wore the little guy out, and he lay down to snooze.
Looked out later this afternoon, and RT was still keeping a respectful distance.
Look closely, and you'll see baby playing shy, underneath mama's tail!
When Misty's grazing crossed in front of RT, he graciously backed out of her way and conceded the territory.
So today's goings-on were, pleasantly, a non-event!


  1. How nice that the foal has an "uncle" who is so friendly! It's nice for the foal to have mom and another adult horse. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and story! (I also have a 29yo - a Quarter Horse.)

  2. I bet that's so much fun to watch. :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love that shot of the baby "playing shy" under mama's tail! The subtle dynamics in building a baby-sitter bond were fascinating.