Monday, July 19, 2010

What IS It With Males?

I grew up with a houseful of testosterone running amok. Estrogen based creatures were in the minority, so you’d think I would know how to handle it all with ease.

Most of the time I do.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s two or four legged males; there are certain patterns that come to the fore in certain circumstances. Regardless of my years around two and four legged males, or how much *understanding I have of them; there are days they still drive me crazy.

Today was one of those days.

Sunday is usually a peaceful, kick back day. First battle was with my son wanting to borrow the car and the reminder regarding chores came first. And then hubs and using his wimpy little push mower rather than the nice heavy duty-riding mower we have. Wimpy broke. We got all that settled. Well, I believe I suggested dunking their heads under the hose to cool off before coming back into the house.

Peace resumed.

Until the new horse arrived.

That would be the gelding (a male) that wasn’t supposed to be delivered until next week, when we had the holding pasture cut and ready for him. I should add that this is not my horse. Very close friend owns it, Daniel (a male), who has been dying to get a horse to ride again and I said he could keep it here. So I’m just taking out the biscuits from the oven when my girlfriend, his wife, calls and says they’re on the way with the horse.

Say WHAT? Please tell me you’re kidding? She’s not. Apparently the former owner (yep, another male) had to deliver another horse in my area so he decided this was the time to kill two birds with one stone. And me in the process.

Great. I have three horses, a proud cut gelding, Doctari, and two mares. This is Doctari’s herd. They’ve all carved out a certain hierarchy. Bringing in a new animal, whether horse, cat, or dog, there is a time of adjustment and that means I have to be there.


Several hours, in fact, facilitating this new member’s introduction to my herd.

Daniel keeps telling me Diamond is a well-mannered gelding used to being around a herd and subordinate to a dominant male. I keep telling him, it’s not Diamond I’m concerned about, it’s Doctari, and my lead mare, Sweet Tea (who can be a nasty beeotch when she wants to be and should not have Sweet in anyway attached to her name).

We walk Diamond around on a lead in the pasture for a while. Proud arching of necks and nose sniffing ensues. Things are going well. This what I call the honeymoon period. Well, it was a short honeymoon. We let Diamond off lead. More sniffing. Sweet Tea takes exception to something Diamond does and kicks. Grrr. Doctari, of course, is concerned and comes closer to investigate. Nothing happens. They all head off to the oak in the pasture. Sweet Tea is being bitchy about this interloper. Doctari circles around and comes between them.

  • “Oh look, Doctari is protecting Diamond,” Daniel says.

  • I’m watching all this. I shake my head as Doctari again weaved between Diamond and the mares. “He’s not protecting Diamond, Daniel, he’s keeping his mares away from Diamond. Big difference. This is gonna get tricky, my friend.”

So long as Diamond kept his distance, all was well. But he’s young, not quite three. As soon as he tried to join the herd, Doctari would run him off. By now, I’m concerned because I’m watching how Doctari is moving and he’s run Diamond close to the fence a couple of times. Sweet Tea is instigating trouble and Doc disciplines her, and we have squealing and nipping as Doctari rounds up his mares drives them back to the oak. He’s now on guard between the mares and Diamond. I know trouble is brewing when Doctari comes to a stop on a small incline in the pasture. He’s turned to the side so he looks huge and his head is up, nostrils flared, he strikes the ground with his hoof. He’s watching Diamond slowly come back up the hill on the other side of the pasture (where Doctari chased him).

There is something very chilling about a challenging bugle of a male horse. The earth vibrates when Doctari takes off after Diamond again and this time I know there will be a fight. It doesn’t help that the mares don’t stay put but gallop behind him.

  • Oh sh!t, this is bad, Daniel. Diamond is going to go over the fence.”

  • Nah, he’ll get free.”
  • "I'm tellin' you..."

Both of us are running to the other fence in the yard so we can see what’s happening. I watch as Diamond tries to break free from them and attempts to retreat to the center pasture but Sweet Tea cuts him off. Through the tall brush and grass I hear them and watch, helpless as Diamond tumbles head first over the fence and into the next field. I exhale the breath I didn’t know I was holding as Diamond gets up and shakes himself. He wastes no time putting the field between him and Doctari. I can tell he’s hurt but from this distance, I can’t tell where or how. I’m relieved to see him cantor across the field.

Daniel goes over the fence with Diamond’s lead, I run for the truck. My concern is the pasture borders the creek and there is a section where the fence is out. I don’t need him going through the creek and into the next pasture.

Daniel is coming through the pasture and I drive the truck to the other end. Diamond is literally at the furthest point in the pasture from the home pasture. That big pasture is close to a hundred acres and belongs to my neighbor. I call to Diamond and start talking to him, cajoling and praising him when he comes to me. I have no lead rope but he comes. I can see he’s bleeding where his chest caught the fence as he tumbled. Some blood is on his front legs as well. Great.

As he gets closer, I see the bleeding stripes against his chest. Nothing looks very deep but I won’t know for sure until I get him back to the house. Daniel has arrived now and I can see Daniel’s worried, but he gets the lead on Diamond and walks him. He’s moving smooth, no limping and that’s good. We get him to the house and wash him off, just scratches and nothing deep. No swelling.

My Danes are barking because there is a horse in the yard and not in the pasture, where they belong. Diamond is spooked a bit, but he’s a plucky thing. I think he knows they’re in pens. Once we have him calmed again it’s time to walk the gauntlet through the pasture. This time, the pasture is MINE, by god. Doctari was reminded and so was Miss Pain In the Arse, Sweet Tea that I’m the alpha queen. Needless to say, they backed off and behaved.

Diamond is in the barn and in a stall. Where he will stay until the holding pasture is ready.

Tomorrow is another day.

Picture 1: Doctari
Picture 2: Sassy
Picture 2: Sweet Tea and Doctari


Tonya Kappes said...

Too funny Sia! I'm glad you KNEW what was going to happen. I totally understand being the only girl in the house with five boys in my home (plus two male dogs....).

Mason Canyon said...

If only the guys would listen to us life could be so much easier. I totally understand about bring a new horse in. Our last one was a mare. We shouldn't have had any problems because the four we already had are geldings. You can image. BTW, beautiful photos of your horses.

Thoughts in Progress

~Sia McKye~ said...

Tonya, grew up with 7 males in the house, currently live with 2 males. So you know what I mean about testosterone, lolol!

I suspected there would be problems with integration--it's only normal. I did say at the beginning when Daniel and Diamond came over, let's put him in the barn. Oh no, he should be fine, sigh...

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mason, I can imagine all too well. One girl, five guys and making the herd an odd number to boot.

Thanks, I didn't have a picture of Diamond. A little too busy sweating and cursing. He's an Appie. He IS a sweet laid back boy, when he isn't being run over fences. Poor baby.

Olivia Cunning said...

You are a braver woman than I, Sia. Glad everything turned out okay, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that situation. Poor Diamond. I hope he finds his place in the herd.

VA said...

Funny and sad for Diamond.

Hierarchy is an odd thing. I am constantly pushed into being an alpha bitch when I'd much rather be part of an oligarchical structure. *sigh

Way to reestablish the order, Sia. I think it goes without saying, but I'll do it anyway, the babies are gorgeous.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Dear Lord, what a mess! Don't people realize you can't just dump an animal in with others and expect all to go smooth?

Anonymous said...

Sia, I grew up with two brothers and often find I have trouble figuring out how women think. Grin

Your world is interesting.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Amen on that Diane! And you know what? Daniel was ready to leave after the first hour when the honeymoon stage was still intact. I said, Oooooh no you don't. It's not over by a long shot. Sure enough, it was about that time the honeymoon stage ended rather abruptly.

I'm hoping if I put him in the smaller holding pasture, the other three will get used to him being there where they can see him, smell him, and become accustomed to him. Then in few weeks we'll see if he can become part of the herd again.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Olivia, I was much too busy to think about having several thousand pounds of muscle, hooves, and teeth milling around me. I'm ALWAYS alert and cautious, tho. Like breathing now. But I am boss and they know it and rarely go over the line.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Vivian, all of them are so gorgeous. Diamond is still a bit leggy and needs to flesh out a bit. He's a handsome boy.

Sherilyn, isn't that the truth? Maybe it's a good thing I had a son, lolol!

There's always a story to tell about my world.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I guess we're just clueless sometimes!
Thanks for watching my trailer four times. I appreciate that, Sia.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex, I really enjoyed it.

If readers are wondering what Alex and I are talking about you can see it here:


You'll be happy to know Alex, my 15 year old said "not a bad trailer. reminds me of beginning drafts of gaming platforms." I told him I was going to order it and he said, I'll read too. We both enjoy good SciFi.

Elle J Rossi said...

Oh, Sia. I really tried not to laugh, but I grew up raising horses and have been in that situation more than once. I did breathe a big sigh of relief that none of the horses were hurt badly.

They are all beautiful and I'm a bit envious right now. Enjoy your "men"!

Kat Sheridan said...

OMG, Sia, what a day!! Holy cow! I've never been near horses, but trust me, I could outrun one under these circumstances! Glad no one was hurt, and you let them know who the Queen Bee was!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Elle, I grew up around horses too and believe me, there was a BIG sigh of relief that no one was seriously hurt.

Diamond is going in the holding pasture--I sometimes use it as a round pen. But it has shade, a place to run and best of all in an area all the horses can get to know each other without being hurt. I'm hoping that Diamond will integrate eventually.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kat, it wasn't my favorite day's activity, I can assure you. *grin. Not too many things on my place question my queenship,except my son on occasion, lmao!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Wow- Sia,

Men-lol- love it when they say- oh do it. Everything will be fine...NOT.

(((hugs))) to you and you are fabulous for handling it all so well.