Friday, February 17, 2012

The Most Frustrating Mare

There’s almost nothing going on around the farm right now.  The weather isn’t really cold but it’s on and off rain every other day.  This makes the pastures muddy and sloshy.  The horses are a muddy mess every day, which leads me to wonder why would they really want to roll in the mud.  Rolling in mud isn’t exactly a spa treatment and can’t feel that good.  It makes me not want to clean anybody up for a ride either.  The mud is so caked on some of these equines that I have to take a shedding blade to them just to budge it.  The other night when I went to take Mellon’s halter off it was so encrusted with mud I had to get a hoof pick to clear out the snap.  Of course, since I was working over my head the dirt promptly went right in my eye.

This time of year seems so frustrating to me.  At times I’d rather have snow instead of rain; at least it’s cleaner.  It also makes me wonder why Dusty has suddenly reverted back to her old behavior of refusing to come in at night.  In the seasons of spring, summer and autumn, I get it; there’s still grass out in the pastures to be eaten.  It’s warmer and it’s nice to stay out at night and play “let’s make believe we’re really wild horses.”  There may be a blade or two of grass coming up somewhere now, but I don’t think it’s enough to warrant this current behavior.

Our recent nights have been cold, down near the single digits then up into the 30 degree mark like a roller coaster.  We bring them in at dusk and as soon as two or three horses are safely in the barn Her Majesty might decide to lead a conga line back to the pastures.  No amount of calling will stop her progress.  Or she stays in the catch pen just out of reach until the last horse is brought in and I personally think she expects one of her employees to bring dinner to her.  Which isn’t an option.  When she finally realizes she’s not getting fed she will come to the gate and allow herself to be brought in.  Dusty is a very frustrating mare and she does try my patience.

There’s no rhyme or reason to her behavior that I can come up with but I can only hope her leg is feeling so good she wants to do more.  I’m sort of insisting she come in and rest at night.  So far she’s only threatened to stay out all night then relents and comes in, even if it’s after dark.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun to go back out around eight o’clock to see if the princess is ready to grant permission to be brought in.  The last time she wasn’t up after dark we sent Mellon (the Terminator) out after her and told him to bring her home, which he did.  She’s a free spirit, but Mellon’s the boss whether she likes it or not, and she will listen to him or it’s her very ample butt that’s going to get a kick.

We’ve tried many different scenarios to try and fix this behavior and they work… for a day to two.  The most effective one was when we left her in the side paddock by herself for the entire day.  Next day she was the first one to the gate.  So I know she can figure out when she’s doing the wrong thing; problem is she simply doesn’t care.  For now it’s a test of wills between her and us.  Eventually we will win, but that’s not to say she’s still not the most maddening horse we’ve ever dealt with.

 Until next time

Quote for Today
How do you catch a loose horse?
Make a noise like a carrot.
    - British Cavalry joke -


  1. I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog. I have horses and I have never seen a blog like yours. Very good !

  2. Carolina:

    *chuckling* It's the way you tell 'm. I know it's not funny, really, but you make it sound so funny ;-)

  3. Laughing Orca Ranch has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    I love Dusty's independent free spirit. lol!

    I've never thought much about that kind of stalling routine, since my mare has access 24/7 to her pasture and can go freely into the barn anytime she feels the need to, which is rarely ever. She's happy with that arrangement, so I'm happy, too.

    Oh...and don't wish for snow to replace your rain....we've been getting plenty of it since December. Blizzards in December and January, and snow almost every day for the past 2 weeks....and you know what, it's not better than rain, because first you deal with trudging through the deep white stuff, than as it freezes solid, you struggle not to slip and fall, and then as it begins to melt, you fear for loosing your boots, and curse when you track mud everywhere.

    Snow melts...and becomes you get the worst of all scenarios when you get snow.


  4. Carol has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    Very frustrating. She's too smart! Guess she knows how cute she is and figures she can get away with it :)

  5. allhorsestuff has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    Oh my word Arlene, your writing is so hilarious, um cracking up. I've missed your posts the most....
    I must remember to address how frustrated you truly are, as i enjoy the creative antics on the part of horse and human. Sending that Mellon out to get her, seems to be a good way.

    Well, horses are a divine mystery, help, frustration, and joy~ deeper than words hope to express .

    Hang in and ill be back soon to read of your resolve in these and more!! Power to us, the Lovers of HORSES

  6. Tammy has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    I wonder if maybe she is too warm. I know our days are a lot warmer than normal; nights can drop down though. They always keep us guessing, don't they.

    We have sunshine and slop. The snow is melting...

  7. smazourek has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    Wasn't she on stall rest fairly recently? I imagine she's pretty sick and tired of seeing the inside of that stall. Personally, I don't blame her a bit.

  8. Victoria Cummings has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    Has she been communicating telepathically with Siete and my puppy, Stella? Strong willed women. Why can't they do what we want them to? Wait a minute, that sounds like what my husband says about me sometimes. And don't get me started on the mud. I agree, it's impossible to keep them clean! We need the horse equivalent of a drive-thru car wash.

  9. Calm, Forward, Straight has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    After reading this I love my gelding even more! ;) My former trainer would disagree, but I do believe that mares keep score...

  10. Sandra has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    Their ideas of where they want to be don't always go with ours, do they? I keep my horses in the pea gravel yard at night, because it's good for their hooves and I don't want them standing in mud 24/7. They have access to the stables there, but Minnie prefers to spend the night outside, even when it's raining. Cassie will go in when it's wet, but otherwise she'll spend the night outside under the trees too.

  11. Oak in the Seed has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    Dusty does keep your heart on its toes, no? From feeling sorry for her leg issues and then swinging over to feeling sorry for you and your daughter and the daily frustration Dusty presents.
    JME: Interesting theory about mud cleaning. My dog likes mud too. Maybe there is something to it. Will have to give it a go sometime!

  12. Val has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    Dusty is probably blogging to all her horsey friends that she has found "the best game ever".

  13. Jen has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    I'm with Val. A lot of times I think horses are just like us; they take their entertainment where they can find it (or make it ;o)
    Our guys have optional shelter, and they almost never stay in their stalls. Every once in awhile when it's a downpour they will, but most of the time they are happiest outside (our climate is generally warmer than yours though).
    We are a soggy, muddy mess here as well and everyone is filthy.

  14. billie has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    I'm thinking you need a run-in that is right up by the barn so she can use that - but I'm thinking about the lay-out we have here where the barn is actually inside the fencing and all but one of the stalls have back doors.

    She sounds like Salina - has her own opinions and expects them to be respected. :)

    Mud! I was out grooming Keil Bay at dusk yesterday for the same reason. It seems clear to me that rolling in it does something for them as they seem compelled to do it. The strangest thing is when the pony does it he can literally go from mud-caked to pristine again with absolutely no intervention on our part. I have no idea how he does it - and half of him is WHITE so it's even more incredible.

  15. Grey Horse Matters has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    We have a run-in in the catch pen(where they congregate before coming in). The catch pen has all the hay nets so that's an attraction. I think if when they come up maybe one of us could get down to the gate before she does and close her in and that would be fine and would contain her for the night. Maybe put a buddy out with her too. The problem is she's so smart and opinionated half the time she never makes it into the catch pen but stands just out of reach on the other side of the gate. Very crafty. We'll figure it out eventually. I know we'll have to make it more enticing for her to come in than stay out, so she would rather do right(imo)than do the wrong thing.

  16. Jean has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    I have long given up trying to fathom the horse's brain. They just think on another level, that's all.

    Most of the time, my guys do come in for dinner, though. Food does seem to motivate them, despite how well fed they are. Maybe Dusty is just trying to diet so the latest spring styles will fit her feminine figure better. *lol*

  17. jme has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    well very shortly dusty will be getting her way and living out in the shed! i just can't decide who will be her victim--i mean companion! ;-) either that or she will be getting the grazing muzzle; that's sure to make her want to come to the gate at night to get it off!

    and i have a theory about them rolling in the mud to get the excess winter grease out of their coats from time to time; when the mud and clay cracks off they are nice and clean underneath again... anyone? :-)

  18. Once Upon an Equine has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    I can imagine Dusty leading a conga line. Tee hee. She certainly is a willful, independent gal.

  19. Linda has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    I hate this time of year, too, and I think the horses do as well. It's cold and wet, the worst kind of combo. I've had similar issues here. Beautiful was acting like a crazed mare. I got her in and left her in for a couple of days so she'd calm down in a safe, dry, quiet place away from the herd. I've been gone, too, and just got home, so I'm not sure if it did her any good. I'll find out when I take her for turnout. In late winter, it's all about SURVIVAL. They'll be different horses come late spring!

  20. Joy has left a new comment on your post "The Most Frustrating Mare":

    *LOL* What a gal! Though frustrating, I'm sure.
    What is it with the ladies? Our female cat is also known as 'Diva' & the 2 boys cats know their place ;o) Everything has to be on her terms which can be a right pain sometimes!
    Mellon the Terminator -- hee-hee!


It's so nice of you to take the time to visit. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting on what I've written. Even though I sometimes don't have the time to reply to each comment, I do enjoy reading them.