Turf wars

Freedom and Fortune
Freedom always makes it clear to Sheldon (standing in the background) that he is not allowed to get friendly with the mares. In Fortune’s case, he’s safe: she only likes him.

For the past few years Freedom has led the life of Riley. As the only gelding in the herd of four or five horses, he’s taken for granted that the mares belong to him.

Then came Sheldon.

Freedom and Sheldon get along fine when they are turned out together, but as soon as Freedom senses that Sheldon is getting cozy with one of the “ladies” he’s on high alert. If possible, he will insert himself in between Sheldon and the mare. Sheldon’s pretty smart about it and clears out with alacrity!

To reinforce his standing in the herd, Freedom has been marking his territory. While I’ve seen horses poop on other horse’s piles of manure, I have never seen a horse mark its territory with pee, but that’s exactly what Freedom has been doing! The first time I saw him, I thought he had a urinary infection. He was walking around the paddock and peeing in small quantities like a dog. Then I realized that he was peeing on manure piles.

Freedom looking for Willow
When Willow and her owner left for a trail ride, Freedom patrolled the paddock, bucking and galloping while he waited for her to return.

Keeping track of his girls has become an almost full time job for Freedom and it’s taken some effort on my part to reassert my role as the person in charge. Partially it’s my fault: Freedom has always thrived on regular work and the holidays have kept me away from the barn and focused on family activities. Last week I tried to take him out of the field where he was turned out with Willow and Fortune. He has never been so naughty! He planted his feet and refused to leave, swiveling his head around to watch them, showing the whites of his eyes. I finally rode him in the field and even then he was too distracted to do much at all.

The next day I was able to take him out for a good, long wet saddle blanket kind of ride and I realized that to reclaim my well behaved, fun to ride horse, he’s going to have to go back into a regular riding schedule.


2 thoughts on “Turf wars

    1. I know! I wish I lived there. The folks who own that have been wonderful about having horses right over the fence. One time Freedom and Kroni got out and had a fine old time on their lawn. I offered to pay for the grass to be restored to it’s original pristine condition and the owner refused saying “Grass is overrated”. The horses are lucky to have them as neighbors.

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