Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jackson, Meet Frodo

One reason I've been impressed with D, who purchased Jackson, is how much care she is taking with helping young Jackson make the transition to a new home:
  • She did not want to bring Jackson home before her wedding--she realized she would be distracted and very busy, (and then away for the honeymoon for a week).
  • She wanted to make a few safety upgrades to her fencing for a baby horse.
  • She wanted to move him on one of her long 5-day "weekends" (she works a weird series of 12-hour shifts at the local hospital) so that she can be home to make sure he settles in well.
  • She wanted to find Jackson a companion animal--at first she thought "goat," but then she started looking for a pony.
Her search led to Rodeo City Equine Rescue (the sponsors of the Horse Daze event that I took Maddie and Beth to a few weeks ago). They had a small (13h.) pony with some sort of respiratory issues that were being checked on by the vet. If it wasn't contagious or needing significant medical care, D would adopt him. I met his "foster mom" at Horse Daze, and she said he was a great little guy--"If I had grandkids, I'd keep him!"
Turns out the breathing issues are related to a sort of scar tissue built up in his throat; if asked to work very hard, he will wheeze a bit, but otherwise no big concerns.

So "Frodo" enters the picture.
I was going to suggest to D that she move Frodo here for a few days or a week before Jackson went to her home, but D beat me to it and asked if that was possible. The idea is to "wean" Jackson from his current herd, and let him bond with Frodo, in a place familiar to him, before the move to a new place. D and a friend (and niece K) brought Frodo out Friday afternoon. I separated Jackson from the herd, though not quite out of sight. The boys shared adjoining paddocks overnight. Jackson wasn't too interested in the new neighbor; he fussed and called out much of the night, trying to figure out how to get to the south side of the barn, and really lost it the next morning when Mike and I took Kate and Maddy off in the trailer for a ride.
Frodo's biggest concern was dinner.... And breakfast.
After Mike and I got back, I let Frodo in to the larger paddock with Jackson (I wanted Frodo to have plenty of room if Jackson got aggressive over "his" territory). Frodo checked out the perimeter, while Jackson checked out Frodo.
Then I moved them back to the smaller paddock, totally out of sight-line of the mares and RT. There was some jockeying for authority, but although Frodo is small, he is very much the senior here (15 years old), and after Jackson tried pushing him around a little, Frodo finally told him to "Back OFF, kid!" and Jackson did. There was no big confrontation, and no panic. A good start.
They spent a couple of hours together while I cleaned up the trailer, and started dinner, then I let them head out to the pasture--which will have to be fairly limited for tubby little Frodo.

Jackson wandered back and forth from the paddock area (closer to the other horses), to Frodo's proximity, quite a bit at first. I was pleased that there was no racing back and forth or challenging fences, but it's obvious that Jackson is confused and anxious about the current change in circumstances. Frodo is just worried that the food will disappear.

Since he couldn't find his "regular herd," Jackson started to seek out Frodo's company (and comfort?) more and more--exactly why we wanted to put them together before the move to Wenatchee.

There was very little calling overnight on Saturday, though Jackson did nicker hopefully when I first went out Sunday morning. I let everybody out in their respective pastures, and, although Jackson has an oblique view of the rest of his "old" herd in the south pasture from the north one where he and Frodo are, he seemed much more content to hang out with his new buddy.
D will come out after her overnight shift Wednesday night, and we'll haul the two of them home.


  1. Very good plan, well executed - it's nice to see the pony have an important job to do, and Jackson seems to be adjusting well, too.

  2. What a cute little pony! Love his half-blaze. D sounds like a fantastic new owner. The two of you lucked out finding each other!

  3. That looks like its working out well for Jackson and Frodo, how perfect for both of them!

  4. Jackson is beautiful. Love his mane. I'm partial to paints, they're some of the best horses I've ever had. And Frodo is just too adorable. Glad they're becoming buddies.

    That was a great idea to get them used to each other before the move.

  5. This was so wonderful to read about...second pony/buddy story for me today! Jackson is a beaut! Must be a bit easier to allow him to go to such a conscientious gal too! She is starting her marriage out right..with horses! Haha!
    Frodo is adorable...and good he stood his ground.
    My mare dislikes ponies...if we ever get a place..I just need another horse!

  6. Awwww! Makes me want to get a pony buddy for Apache. My daughter would love that!

    Such a great idea to integrate the two of them before the ride home. How thoughtful and wise.


  7. Great story, it must feel good to know that he's going to such a caring home.