Sunday, November 24, 2013

Houston, we have a little problem

Three stalls, four ponies.

I had planned to move the large ponies -- Josie, Annie, and Shadow -- into the three stalls at the back of the barn on the new property. These are the stalls immediately adjacent to the big pasture where they can go out to graze. This would save me a lot of time walking them back and forth and since they are the only ponies I am comfortable putting out on grass for any length of time, it seemed ideal. The rest of the little ponies would stay in the big barn with the drylot paddocks. That was the plan anyhow.

Then Zeus and Sammy arrived. (Maybe at some point, I'll explain why we have all these,  some other day.) Anyway, Zeus is also a large pony. After the additional quarantine of the two newbies in the back barn, I started putting the four big guys out in the pastures together. It's gone alright. Zeus loves Josie and plays hard with Shadow, though he doesn't like Annie much. The feeling seems to be mutual. They're both a little possessive of Josie.

Personally, I think that Annie has earned her ownership. All but a few of our ponies went through the auction system, a very unpleasant kill lot and quarantine, before landing with us. Annie and Josie went through it together. Even after coming to us, Annie and Josie went through several additional boarding situations together before coming to our property. So, like I said they are tight.

I've puzzled about how to squeeze one extra stall into the back barn, but it's just not going to happen this season. So I had resigned myself to moving Zeus into the big barn and walking him back and forth every day. I was going to make the move yesterday, when it was time to come in.

The best laid plans...

I forgot to prep the old guys for the move. Doh. This is ironic considering how much effort I generally put into managing these guys, including exactly this sort of thing. Sigh. But I did forget, and when it came time to bring everybody in last night, as the sun was setting, and the clock was ticking, and I had to go get the 12-year-old at a friend's house, Josie did not want to stay in her new stall. Shadow did not want to stay in his new stall. Shadow did not want to be separated from Josie. Zeus would not be separated from Josie. Annie did not want Zeus anywhere near either Annie or Josie.

Zeus has had little to no handling experience as far as I can tell, so this became a serious issue very quickly. Among other things, the stall area in the back barn has giant stalls, but a tiny aisle (maybe 8 feet wide) and I nearly got trampled by Zeus several times before I started making on-the-fly executive changes.

1) Zeus stays where he's been.
2) Josie stays.
3) Shadow stays.
4) Annie goes back to the big barn.

Poor Annie. She got split off for one reason only -- because she is the most easily handled horse.

So, back to the big barn she went. She called. She paced. Some hay and some grain in her familiar stall helped settle her down. Sammy, the new mini, went into Josie's old stall next to Annie, so at least she didn't have to contend with Zeus.

This morning as soon as I finished feeding the big barn, I walked Annie back out to the big pasture. She knew exactly where she was going. When I let her loose, she headed straight around to the back of the barn and she didn't stop until she found Josie's window. Not sure what the solution here is.

1 comment:

  1. If the stalls are large and the ponies not so large, could the best buds share a stall?