Letting Horses Be Horses

Cecelia (bay roan on left) and Sidekick (gray mare) meet for the first time.

Yesterday was a momentous day for three of our 3-year-old reiners. Clay decided to pull their sliders and turn each of them out for a month, for a vacation. It’s something he does annually with the horses he feels need time to grow, have a break and simply, be horses. As November dictates that Clay must spend a fair amount of time on the road, traveling to the AQHA World Show in Oklahoma City, it’s a good time to let some of the young horses relax and take a breather from their regular training regime.

When horses are in training, we turn them outside every day. However, since they all have sliding plates on their hind feet we must turn them out into their own, individual outdoor pens. Our turnout pen system ensures that no horses get kicked or receive a needless injury.

The individual turnouts for training horses (on a more summery day).

In contrast, for their vacation Clay choose a large pasture in which to turn all three mares out together. And although they have all been barn mates for several months, none had really come into contact with each other until today. I had my camera ready for their first outing – as I was probably just as excited as the mares were about their new freedom – and we all held our breaths.

Here, Sidekick (gray) and Cecelia (bay roan) meet with grace and set out on a new adventure:

Then Feist (as she is so appropriately named), is brought into the pasture to join her new friends.

The little chestnut mare gets the other two going…

And they all appear to have a pretty good time, until they notice the round bale… when the shenanigans come to a complete halt. The entire display lasts only a total of 1 minute and 24 seconds. I had a good chuckle when all three mares began to eat from the round bale as though they were long lost friends, picking up where they had left off. No warning kicks were fired off, no ear pinning, no nothing. They simply were enjoying each others’ company – or at least the Timothy / Brome mix in the white feeder.

As they were standing still, David (our barn manager at J. Drummond Farms) and I noticed that Cecelia had already lost a hind blanket strap in her quick journey around the pasture. David decided to catch her, to fix the blanket and possibly help prevent any injury it could cause her by flipping or rotating too low towards her feet.

Be that as it may, Cecelia had no intentions of being caught.

And Sidekick had no intentions of her new best friend being caught either.

Do you ever have a feeling that horses actually know how to flip you the “middle hoof”?

Geez. Gotta love horses just being horses.

But just in case you’re wondering – yes, we did finally catch Cecelia again and fix her blanket.