Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Herd Dynamics

When I went out to visit Koda this weekend, the entire herd was out together and I had the chance to really just sit and watch their herd dynamics.  I know Koda is at the bottom of the herd, so it was interesting to see
how it really worked.  Considering the marks that he gets on his hide, he gets either seriously beaten on, or isn't bothered to move away.  Now that he has his blanket on, there are less marks on him, but more on the blanket.  Thank goodness for high denier blankets!

When he first got here, already showing his lazy side...

While I watched, Cain (the youngest in the herd) was majorly going after Koda.  Ears pinned, teeth bared, but not in that "I'm going to EAT YOU!" way, but more in a playing, irritating little brother way.  Cain would keep snipping, snapping, and bothering him until finally Koda would put up some resistance in the form of barely lifing up his hind feet in a half-hearted kick.  You know when you see the rather roly poly horse try to kick out his hind legs?  That was Koda.. but Koda isn't fat.  It was absolutely HILARIOUS!  There was some minute passage steps with the hind end when he didn't even get his feet off the ground... oh, Koda.  After a bit, he did toss in a few big kicks and the two of them starting sparring and playing around, Koda
more grudgingly than Cain.  They were at it for a good half hour and were still going on when I left!  The blanket was getting a major test in how tough it is.  Luckily, even when Cain got a mouth-full of blanket, there were no rips or tears.  Yet.

During the playing, Mic (head honcho) split them up after a bit when Dandy was starting in on it as well.  Dandy is the sweetest, cuddly horse you'll ever meet, but he can be a grouch in the herd.  Dandy will join in on Cain's games, but much more aggressively.  Mic is a pretty laid back herd boss, only getting into the
mix when absolutely necessary.  JJ is the only mare in the group and is fairly chummy with everyone.  She has been turned out with Koda more so now since she could do with a few groceries as well.  They have become closer which is nice to see.  

So to sum it up, here is our cast of characters:

Koda - new to the herd, at the bottom, reluctant play friend for Cain.

Dandy - Second in command.  Cuddly with people, grouchy with horses.  
Takes his job seriously, self-proclaimed protector of JJ.

Mic - Herd-Boss.  Laid back, will eat with everyone as long as he gets the best bites.

JJ - Only mare in the herd.  Laid back and is friendly with everyone.
(Even the SO!)

Cain - Youngest in the herd, near the bottom.  Loves to irritate Koda.

I love just sitting and watching the horses be horses, learning about their herd dynamics and how they act with each other.  I can't wait until it's warm enough to chillout on the round bales again and just listen to them munching away.

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