One of my favorite peeves is the hero always riding a stallion but I found the most delightful character of Lass in Patricia Brigg's The Hob's Bargain.

Lass is a mare, slender and elegant but stronger than she looks and mean as a snake. She bites, she kicks and is generally most unpleasant to be around. But it's her job to take care of her man. And she's really good at it. She's so wonderfully marish, I can't read her without giggling. Now - of all things, I know horses can't be allowed to have bad manners, but some mares have a natural tendency to be 'in charge' of "life, the universe and everything" and those are the ones you want on your side or at your back when the going gets tough.

We have an ongoing situation here with young

TELPE. She's big for her age and typically awkward and energetic. She has an injured leg from being kicked and we're working her back into the herd after a period of confinement. WITNESS isn't going to put up with any of her silly-half-grown-baby carp.

What WITNESS has done is to herd TELPE to the corner and hold her there. Look this 'snarly' face. See how tight her muzzle is, how she has her nostrils pulled back and flared? And TELPE's listening. Look at that ear pointed straight out sideways on WITNESS.

But the more interesting interaction happened after WITNESS decided that TELPE had properly submitted and would be allowed to play nice with the other girls.

Little MIREE, most definitely her mother's daughter, took the opportunity to practice being in charge.

First she put TELPE in the corner...

You can see she's working on her snarly face, it's pretty good, but not perfect and TELPE is questioning her to some extent.

TELPE didn't stay in the corner so MIREE had to 'get tough'.

What she's done in this photo is get in front of TELPE and start backing up. If you've ever tried to back up a short wheel base trailer, you know what a hard task she's set herself -- but she's getting it done. Can you see the combined look of concentration and irritation on her face, and TELPE's surprise?

Here you can see she got her in the corner, but that durn leg is sticking out. TELPE's not standing square and quiet... she is. Much better -

Oops. TELPE got tired of being good and decided to walk off.
MIREE is nipping her to try to put her back in the corner. Look at MIREE's legs, you can see how she's stopped and turned TELPE and is swinging around to get in front of her.

WITNESS finally got fed up and put them all in the corner. The arrangement in the photo looks casual, but it's not. WITNESS has them boxed in the stall and is guarding the gate.



Leah Braemel said...

Oooh! I love the pics that go along with this. And seeing Miree getting into the 'I'm in charge mode' is really interesting. (Now is she older or younger than Telpe, younger isn't she? Yet she's determined to be an alpha!) Good post, Sue.

Becky Burkheart said...

hehe! Thanks Leah, I hate being bored, but I could sit at the barn all day because there is always 'stuff' going on.

I should have said about their ages. MIREE is a 3yo, TELPE is just two, but they're about the same size. There is another filly in with them that is just a year old and is almost their size, but shes still very much a baby and watchs all this from far away. But she's very sweet anyway and I'm not sure would ever be a lead mare. Certainly not in this herd.

Val said...

What a hilarious entry; you got some great pix!
Glad I surfed by -- I can tell about Zach scaring the daylights outta me this morning when he popped up in the barn aisleway in the midst of MY mares...[mares get to stay up front, geldings in the back pasture]
Alpha-mare Sahara is typically hanging her head over the partition, closely supervising me as I dish out the feed, so it was a surprise to see a lil' blond head pop up: "Mom, the XBox WON'T WORK!" [He's an exceptionally light sleeper & typically wakes up when I leave the house; I tell him to play XBox or watch TV until Mama gets back from the barn!]
He had run down to the barn half-nekkid in his sleep shirt; I rushed him over to the truck where he could sit under the heater while I finished feeding & pitching hay...

Becky Burkheart said...

Val, that's tooo funny! It would have scared me half to death. Don't you love how even the most alpha mare will be gentle with a child.

LOL about having the mares up front and the guys in back. Isn't that the 'proper' order? :)

Allyn Daniels said...

Tell MIREE not to be mean to that baby! LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sue. Cathy over at Catena Expressions lured me over here. Your great post on the mares will bring me back! I love watching the interactions and really wish humans could communicate as effectively.

Becky Burkheart said...

Hi Chris, *waves* Welcome to the barn! I agree about watching the interactions between the horses. The world would be a better place if people could be as clear about what they want.

Allyn - sorry :) It would do no good. *sigh*