What a week this has been. No , its not over yet, but only one more day to go. This was the first full week I have worked since before the 4th of July. I am not whining, I promise, but it was a real a challenge to get back into the thick of things at the office and get my brain back into “analytical” mode. To add to the challenge, there were several celebrations and fund raisers going on in the office, and ofcourse with that... comes food…
Lots of food. Evil food , like biscuits with sausage gravy, and spaghetti with meat sauce. Yes, I walked away from all of it… every last bit! Even the most sinful of them all .. Carrot Cake.
Streamlining my food choices and maintaining will power is an ongoing challenge but I think I am getting the hang of it. Today was The Spaghetti feed school fundraiser. As good as that plate of spaghetti and garlic bread would have tasted, I just kept reminding myself how horribly I would feel after the fact. And..then? I got the HELL out of the building for lunch!! I dashed for the gym for a workout.
…Nothing like the smell of a locker room to make one lose their appetite.
By the time I was done with my workout and had just sweated out what seemed like atleast a gallon of water (do the staff at the gym have something against air conditioning?) there was no way I was going to sabotage that 45 minutes of hard work for a carb and corn syrup overload (Costco canned pasta sauce). Nope, not me…My tuna with fresh veggies would keep me satisfied and I wouldn’t have to forgo the walk of shame later that day. Many thanks to the great resources that Tamara of In the Night Farm has posted on her site, along with many of the helpful comments her followers posted. They have definitely helped me to continue to get a new attitude and stay the course in the face of spaghetti and carrot cake.
Speaking of new attitude’s ,JB has himself a new attitude these days. It has been wonderful to see my special boy transform from a tense, hyper alert Stallion to a loosey goosey , driven by the next meal gelding. His whole body looks more relaxed, almost like someone unstitched a few stitches that were too tight. Initially I I had some reservations about how much change gelding him would make as he is 7 years old but it really has been amazing. I wasn’t that concerned about how he would do with the other horse because up until he was 3, he was turned out regularly with the other horses. Eventually, his herd behavior as a stallion was just too much for the geldings to bear and I had to cease group turnout.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have slowly introduced JB back into the gelding lifestyle/ We began with shared turnout with the older two, Roman and Rebel. The first time was a little surprising. JB literally ran out to them and attacked at full speed, all teeth. He did get a hold of Rebel and poor Rebel lost some hide in the process. I think JB caught both geldings by surprise because they were quietly grazing and didn’t even look up as he approached at a gallop, ears pinned. Roman was the one to take action and promptly laid the law down with a fairly aggressive attack of his own, catching JB a couple of times with both barrels. From the sidelines, the loud “THWACK, THWACK” that could be heard was Romans hind feet catching JB in the chest. JB moved off and went on to graze, certainly feeling the wrath of Roman. Apparently JB got the message and now has the highest respect for him. Ever since then , there has been no trouble. Rebel has decided the safest place for him to be is behind Roman…
JB was turned out with these two for a solid two weeks before I felt it was time to introduce the rest of the herd. For the first few days, he completely ignored the other horses and grazed quietly at the opposite side of the pasture from the rest of the horses. Never even once tried to get in their business, which surprised me a bit. He has now begun to try to find his spot in the herd and so far he is second, Roman being first, then Rebel, then Brego , then Cassidy. Maggie is left out of the mix completely for now until her hormone levels drop off for the year. ( no need to complicate matters). Cassidy tried to challenge JB yesterday but found himself the receiver of JB’s nasty little teeth. Ooooo, that makes me so mad but they have to sort it out. Brego is rather fascinated with JB and it’s really amusing to watch him. When JB approaches or vice versa, Brego does the baby chomping thing with his mouth and the promptly pees all over himself… no joke… I imagine its just a submissive thing but he seems rather embarrassed of himself when this occurs. I can’t help but laugh! Sorry Brego.. I just can't help myself.
I truly enjoy watching the herd and the herd behavior. I have learned a lot about my horses just from watching them from a distance. It’s not uncommon to find me sitting in the pasture from time to time observing.
I would love to hear what some of you have witnessed or learned from your herd of horses? Do you find that certain breeds tend to stick together if you have a mixed breed herd? I know ours do. The Morgans stick together. Does the hierarchy change from time to time, season to season? What happens when you removed the dominant leader of the group? Tell me all about it.
Riding plans for the weekend:
This weekend in the Flathead is buzzing with activity from Heritage days, to State champ swim meets to road rallies for bikers, and since the weather will be hot, plenty of boaters looking for respite from the heat. It’s the perfect storm for brewing up a few traffic jams along with plenty of road ragers out there. As for me, I will try to avoid all of that craziness and sticking mostly close to home, with maybe a quick trip to the lake one afternoon. The weather will be hot and so I will ride early in the day. On Sunday morning, we will be hosting dressage lessons at our outdoor arena but as soon as those are wrapped up, I do plan to attend The Event, a world cup qualifier 3 day Event held at Rebecca Farms. It’s great fun with lots of vendors and an opportunity to see some of the country’s top riders and horses.