Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The alpha strikes again!

After riding every day last week, I didn't do much at the barn over the weekend or yesterday, so I arrived at the barn today with plans to ride.

Not to be.

I arrived to find that the two newest horses, the ones that arrived a month or so ago, are now being kept in the back pasture, the one on the property the barn owner is losing. The alpha has been going after them a lot, since they are still fairly new, and their owners have been getting fed up with the bites. Then yesterday their gelding bashed his forehead on something and opened up a little gash across it. Of course no one knows whether it was really due to the alpha, but the owners decided enough was enough — they wanted their horses kept separated from the others.

I personally don't understand all the fuss. Horses get hurt in pasture and that's just how it is. Alphas bite, and the horses who are lowest on the totem pole get bitten, and that's just how that is. I know it's hard to see your horse get hurt, but we're also not talking about major injuries here. This is scrapes and bruises. This is the kind of thing I expect to see, especially owning a horse who is almost always at the absolute bottom of the totem pole, no matter where we go.

Anyway, while I was chatting on the phone with the two newest horses' owners, the alpha went after Panama. I was behind the barn, so I wasn't in the way, but I could see the entire thing. I checked Panama over, and sure enough, he had two fresh bites — one of which was under the saddle area and looked a bit sore already. No ride today!

A nice, big, swollen bite from another horse

I decided to hose down the bites with cool water, to clean them out and to hopefully ease the soreness a little. Because of their location, though, I decided to give Panama a quick bath at the same time. About halfway through, it started getting very dark, and around the time I finished up it was starting to rain. I unhooked Panama and he cantered all the way to the barn. That horse hates getting cold, rained on, or snowed on, that's for sure!

I hung out in the barn with Panama for a little bit. It rained pretty hard, and eventually turned to hail. Panama seemed a bit anxious and kept trying to lick me anywhere he could reach — arms, shirt, jeans, even my hair. Very odd behavior for him, but then again I've never been there with him during such a serious storm. I'm guessing he was looking for comfort, which makes me feel a bit bad for not letting him lick me. Unfortunately, I have a no-mouthing rule and I felt like I had to uphold it, no matter what the circumstances!

Anyway, the bite was the real reason I didn't go for a ride, but as suddenly as that storm came up I guess it's a good thing I didn't!



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