Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pasture dynamics

I took all these pictures last weekend, but I chose to post about poor neglected Griffin instead. Now I've got a dap of time, so I'll post these pics. These pictures are a great illustration of the dynamics in the pasture.

I had been out for a walk in the woods, and so entered the pasture from a different side than usual. I came up over the hill and spotted the horses grazing on their hay and milling about.

Then they spotted me. Catlow is on the left, Chico in the middle, and Kachina on the right. Cody is farther to the left out of the frame of the picture.

Kachina immediately comes over to see what I'm doing and to get a little attention.

She comes up really close and I pet her, then back off to get a picture of her cute face. She looks at me curiously because I don't often have a camera along.

The other three are curious why Kachina came over to see me so fast, so they mosy over and spy through the trees. I bent down to look at the salt block half buried in the snow, and was picking at it with a stick. Meanwhile Kachina stands over me.

They are very curious about what I'm doing, so they all follow the leader up the hill.

I back up to get a good picture of them all together.

I love this picture because of how symmetrical it is! Two dark horses licking the salt block in the center, and two blaze faces watching me on the outside!

Kachina is often gazing into the distance, like a true wild horse, listening for...other horses, predators, the wind...

But she snaps out of it quickly and comes to see me again. This picture is hilarious to me, because I have one almost just like it from the BLM. It was one of her adoption photos. I don't have that photo on my computer right now (it's stashed away at home on a harddrive and right now I'm at school), but you can see a similar one from their adoption photos here. I think she's more filled out now and looks happier for sure.

She comes right up close...

So I run backwards again so I can get something other than her nose in a picture. My momentary run backwards, stops her in her tracks for a second (isn't her shadow cool?)...

But then she comes right after me again.

Well, Kachina is now too close, so I take some pictures of the others. All the horses are a little roly poly right now, but we've had some pretty cold days so I think that is good. This is definitely not all fluff on Chico!

It is still kinda chilly today (high of 15 degrees!), but it is sunny without much breeze, so in the sun it feels nice and warm. Catlow soaks up the sun and takes a little snoozer.

Cody is looking nice and rotund as well. She now has left her salt block and wants to see what I'm up to. She comes up behind Kachina. Kachina yields to her without any fight at all. Cody doesn't feel the need to be mean to Kachina now.

Kachina has moved off around me and now stands in the brush, looking back at me rather dejectedly.

It this point, I decide to leave the 4 on the hill and go work with Griffin.

Kachina is fitting in very nicely. She's definitely at the bottom, though. When I was up there spending time with them, I didn't see a single horse pin their ears at her or make to chase her. I'm sure by the end of this summer, the whole herd will be one collective unit that will actually whinny after any horse that I take out. Right now, Cody, Chico, and Catlow are all so dependent on one another that if I take one out, all the other fret about that horse until they are returned. They are quite pathetic about it. The horse that I have out is generally fine being with me, maybe a little barn sour, but I can take them off and do stuff and they don't call back for the others, meanwhile the others are pacing the fenceline, looking for the lost horse, whinnying pathetically. Even when I take Catlow out, Cody gets all upset. I find that funny, because before Kachina, Catlow was the bottom and the outsider. Cody and Chico have this very tight pair bond and seem to really exclude Catlow. But, if you take Catlow away, the herd is just not complete, so lead mare, Cody, frets about her being gone. Horses are funny critters.


Kate said...

Herd dynamics are fascinating - I always love watching.

Ad said...

Nice pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

Karen McLain said...

Great interaction and wonderful photos with nice color and composition. Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading it!

Duane said...

Hi Kara...

Just wanted to introduce ourselves as we have several Sulphur Mustangs on our place here in NE Wisconsin and run a breeding preservation program for the Sulphurs. It's wonderful to have another Sulphur and mustang enthusiast so close! If you'd like to chat you can reach us at and best of luck with everything!

Duane and Lisa
Raw Edge Ranch
Pound, WI