Friday, September 16, 2011

Building Her Herd

I have been working on building the number of horses I can turn out with my pretty little Beretta...
She is a rather timid little girl, which was not helped at all by Frosty's attack on her last Spring. For the longest time she was terrified at the very sight of the buckskin horse. I don't blame her. That was an awful thing to have happen to any youngster, much less one who is a bit timid by nature.

Her sole companion in the pasture until recently has been the ever patient and gentle Spooks...
They make a pretty good pair, with their matching chrome. ;-) I guess sometimes I have to remind myself that Beretta isn't so 'little' anymore. Spooks is just shy of 15.2HH. I'm guessing Beretta is just shy of 15HH now herself. That's not all that little for a 2y/o.

A few days ago, I put her out with Spooks and Turk (the paint horse), fairly certain that Turk would not bother Beretta, but wondering if he might go after Spooks. Turk has always been a bit stud-like, in that he likes to gather up whatever mares he can and herd them away from other geldings. That went off without a hitch with Turk actually moving off and spending most of the day by himself. I have since turned Beretta out with only Turk for a day and that went fine as well. Beretta was not as comfortable sidling up to Turk, but they could share proximity without Turk giving her any stink-eye's or intimidating her in any way.

Today, I decided to see how it would go with the big bay in the mix. Jet is not an aggressive horse and he has been around youngsters before without bothering them. I just want Beretta to learn how to be in a herd, that isn't going to get after her. It's so important for youngsters to learn how to socialize.

At first she stayed plumb away from him and kept her security guard between her and the big bay...


But being an inquisitive youngster, she just had to start easing her way toward Jet...With 'Uncle' Spooks right on her tail...
A little closer now...

And finally...
Jet did pin his ears at Beretta a couple of times and give her the stink-eye and she politely vacated his immediate space. They ran and played a bit. Jet is big on playing. He and Frosty have quite the go-rounds. But he restrained himself with Beretta and they just did a little nippy-face.

The whole day went well, with everyone staying in a bunch. Until supper-time. Everyone came to the fence while I was putting hay out. Jet gave Beretta some serious, get-out-of-my-space ear-pinning and snaky neck. She left...

All the way to the far end of the pasture, where she stood and waited. Bless her heart...She's no dummy. Somebody says, "Leave!"...and she is out of there.

I caught Jet and got him out of there. Beretta slowly eased her way back up to the fence, finally rejoined Spooks and all was fine. I'm glad to see Beretta is willing to leave if she thinks she needs to protect herself, but am hoping she will gain some confidence and figure out she just has to leave the immediate area, not vacate to the far side of the pasture at a mere ugly face pointed in her direction. She's pretty sensitive that way. She is pretty easily intimidated by even me giving her an ugly face. This filly is going to take a very light hand when it comes to training.

10 comments:

fernvalley01 said...

Such a sweetie! Poor girl, she needs an Appy to hang out with , yeah thats it, a palomino appy that reaallly likes girls! (Sorry haven't bugged you fgfor a whileI know you have a full house) Wilder is my guy to use as a babysitter , no matter who he goes in with its all good

Patches said...

Oh my gosh, she's all growed up looking! What a cutie! I've got a pretty timid youngin' too that loves to buddy right up to nice horses, but I'm so afraid she's goiing to get hurt if I put her out with the wrong one. It's a little nerve wracking testing it out! Glad it worked out for Beretta!

Crystal said...

Hmm I have the same issue with my Jamaica, he is so afraid of everyone he hung around all alone for 3 days till he saw me chase them away whenthey got to aggressive and now hes just out of reach of them.

Chelsi said...

Wow!! She looks awesome!!! It is great that you are taking the time to build her confidence... it should pay off later. I had a horse with zero confidence in the herd right up in to his late teens, it sure made it hard to keep him in good weight and out of trouble in the herd, so much so that I ended up having to keep him alone. He couldnt even compete with a goat!

Ps- LOVE her blaze!

Paint Girl said...

Wow, Beretta is that big? Wow. Herd dynamics are always interesting to watch.
Love the pictures of them all!! Beautiful!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I love the three head photo. It's just too bad Spooks didn't raise his head just a bit so we could see him.

in2paints said...

I love that last photo! It's always a different story when you add food into the mix, but hopefully after some time with a bigger herd she'll gain some confidence. She's really growing too!!

Danielle Michelle said...

What a sweetie! I can't wait to see how she turns out for you!

C-ingspots said...

Spooks is my kinda horse!! Big and kind. Beretta is a pretty little gal - not so little, I guess...but she's so feminine looking and has such a pretty face. I love mares!!! Always have - in my experience, they can be so much braver than a lot of geldings. Love your herd pictures, hope it keeps going so well! Mine? Well, we're still having herd dynamics issues, the saga continues...

Rising Rainbow said...

Beretta reminds me of my Dare in a couple of these shots. I showed them to Dave and he saw the resemblance too. Looks like she's sporting a bit of sunburn on her cute little muzzle just like Dare is too.

I sure wish Dare was as tall as Beretta. Then maybe I would have a chance at reining some day.