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Jan 03, 2010
It has been over a month now that we have had Image and Ember out with our older girls in the big pasture.
It has been interesting to see how the addition of the kids would change the hierarchy within the herd. Shy Ann continues her Alpha female status. Touchy continues as second in command, but would really like to just be left alone. Abi is no longer the last one in the pecking order. Surprisingly, Image is next and Ember comes in last. Image and Ember tend to stick together and don’t hang out with the older girls all of the time. Abi probably has the most interest in the kids and will try to initiate conversation with Ember.
Even though Ember craves that interaction, she is still a little unsure of the situation and will generally leave the area quickly. I have also seen Shy Ann trying to herd the kids around, but with 4 to watch over now with her Alpha status, it gets a little difficult when they all go in different directions. So, she stays somewhat content in moving Abi around.
We use an ATV to feed the horses their hay in the winter. The older girls know that the ATV means it’s time to eat. They love running along side of Terry, kicking up and having fun.
So far the kids just watch this from a distance.
We still bring the kids over to the corral every day for continued fun and games in the round pen. That means crossing the creek to get to the corral area. Image knows that there will be a treat involved so he usually likes to be first.
A few days ago the heavy rains left the creek very high and the corral and paddock area a muddy mess.
So we decided to work on our training in the pasture. Terry took the big girls over the back pasture so we would be able to concentrate on the kids and them on us without any drama in the open area. We practiced leading and making our figure 8’s. After a job well done, rewards of feed and hay were enjoyed greatly!
We decided it was time to open up the back pasture for the kids. We have always left this pasture open to the big girls, but thought it best to let the kids get used to the regular pasture before introducing them to more places to run. The big girls have just been going over there on their own and it took a couple of days for Ember to join them. Image seemed to have no interest at all in going over there, so he stayed in the main pasture. When he looked up and couldn’t see his cousin, he cried out to her. He ran closer to the fence that separated them. Ember heard his cry and came running to him.
He was clearly confused as to how to get to her. He ran up and down the fence line and finally settled in on a place up at the top of the pasture where there are cedar, crabapple and apple trees.
This is one of the places that Ember and Image spend their nights, tucked in to the cedar trees. I think it is probably the closest they have come to feeling like their mountain home, when they used to tuck in against the Douglas Fir trees. Ember came running over to Image and they spoke to one another.
I can only imagine what they were saying. Perhaps Ember was telling Image: “Come on! There’s more grass over here!” Image saying back: “yeah, but how do I get there?”
Terry and I were already halfway out there to help him get to the opening to the back pasture. We put a lead rope on him and started walking him down to the opening. Ember tore down to the opening and came up to help us get her cousin to the other side.
It was if she was saying: “Come on! It’s up here!”
This actually turned out to be a good thing as we were able to help Image figure out the new boundaries of this part of the pasture. We walked them to the far side and started up the hill.
We looked up to see Shy Ann and Abi tearing our way, wanting to run and have some fun.
I was a little surprised that Ember did not join in. Perhaps she sensed Image’s reluctance to be left alone.
She seemed to be content by Image’s side, grazing.
Shy Ann started moving Ember and Abi
Image thought he'd better listen to the 'boss lady' and move too.
We watched them all settle down and start to graze again.
2010 will be a great year for cultivating new friendships and strengthening older ones.
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