Confetti acquired a new neighbor a few days into June. My lovely, tolerant mare has turned into a beast from hell. She would really prefer that the new mare go away – in all fairness, that stall has been empty since she moved in at the end of last summer! – and is not being particularly kind about it.
Snarky faces, squeals, snorts, pinned ears, charging the fence. These are not big paddocks: 12 feet wide, 24 (new mare) or 36 feet (Fetti) in length. I figured they’d settle in fairly quickly.
Instead, Fetti continues to instigate. New Mare is not being particularly aggressive that I’ve seen, but Fetti will not leave it – new mare is also not being entirely submissive. Saturday I arrived at the barn to find two scrapes on Confetti’s chest. Our theory is that New Mare kicked her through the pipe corral fence. New Mare is still unscathed. Fetti was slightly off – tentatively left front but very uncertain – but thankfully no blood was involved, just took off some hair.
She recovered by Sunday, reinforcing my feeling that it was a very recent injury that she was just sore from. Good good, carry on. Ten-ish miles at a moderate-to-slow pace on Sunday with friends. Tuesday we did a lazy few miles.
Yesterday, I turned her out with her sister. I expected dramatic enthusiastic running from both of them. It has been an exceptionally not-difficult week or two of rides for the pony. Instead, she was mellow, even lazy. Willing to run if asked, but totally content and almost preferring not to. She also looked just the tiniest bit stiff to me. We did a moderate-speed few miles with the other Haflingers, in which I rode bareback on a loose rein and got a polite tiny-trot. It scares me when she starts to act like a lazy normal-horse.
Heading home, I concluded three things: she was definitely NQR, probably RF. She was lazy/lethargic in part because she needed to poop and pee (both accomplished at the very end of the trail ride). I’m still not convinced that was all of it. Trot-circles reinforced the NQR belief. Subtle, but yep, she’s off.
So.. there are a few things going on in my corner of the world.
1. She’s expending all her energy going after New Mare.
2. She’s insecure and currently physically aggressive towards other horses to a degree I’ve not seen before – kicking out at other horses walking behind her whose presence has never been a problem before.
3. She’s beating herself up going after New Mare.
It’s possible that the lameness(es) and new boarder are unrelated, but that seems awfully coincidental for a pony who generally stays quite sound and healthy.
I don’t know how long it takes horses to deal with their neighbors and quit trying to beat them up. I do know that if this persists a few more weeks, I will probably opt out of our mid-July LD that is currently four weeks away. If she’s not 100% at home, it’s not fair to ask her to cope physically and mentally with a 25.