Yeah. Okay. Maybe that is why the world is so screwed up, but this is a blog about horses. πŸ™‚

Quinn has been coming along fine. I often see him running around, full of energy. He still looks a bit on the thin side, but he will fill back out, it’s only a matter of time. As you may recall from a previous article, since Quinn’s arrival, he and Charlie have been sharing a separate pasture and rooming together in the back half of the barn. This was necessary due to Quinn’s extremely fragile condition upon his arrival at the ranch and Charlie —Β  old, laid-back Charlie — was the natural choice to be his roommate.

Diana now feels it’s time to gradually introduce Quinn to the other horses in the main corral. In the evening, she moves Quinn to one of the horse villas and that is where he spends the night. This allows him greater proximity to the other horses, while still keeping a fence between him and the others for his own protection.

Occasionally, during the day, Diana moves Quinn into the main corral where he can familiarize himself with the area, and he and the other horses can begin to familiarize themselves with one another. Charlie comes along for the ride, but Charlie’s place in the herd’s hierarchy has already been established. Quinn’s has not. However — and this is important — for Quinn’s protection, all the other horses, except for one low-ranking male (other than Charlie), are first moved into their villas and remain contained there for the duration of this exercise. Otherwise, the horses, as a group, could gang up on Quinn — the new kid in town — and things could get nasty and quickly spiral out of control. The other horses could hurt Quinn, or he could run headlong into a fence in a panicked attempt to get away. By introducing Quinn to only one horse at a time, Diana is able to maintain control of the situation and ensure Quinn’s safety.

So who is the lowest-ranking male at the ranch?

Probably me, but since I’m not a horse, I don’t count! πŸ™‚

Roper is the chosen low-ranking male. I’m not necessarily saying that Roper is THE lowest ranking male, because I’m actually not certain. My guess is that he’s not only the lowest ranking male, but also the lowest ranking horse

I haven’t introduced you to Roper, yet, but he is one of the two horse that belong to Christine. Roper used to be a police horse here in Abilene, but age finally got the best of him. Thanks to the compassion of Christine, Roper was rescued and now boards here at the ranch.

Roper and I both qualify as old codgers now. But, unlike Roper, I don’t have to soak my granola bars in water before I can eat them! But, unlike me, Roper has two women who cater to his every need. Wait… he has two women waiting on him… and I have to get my own granola bars? Something is horribly wrong. Go ahead, Roper… rub it in. Some guys have all the luck. πŸ˜‰

Actually, now that I think about it, Roper has four women (jeez, it’s getting worse) because he is desperately in love with Trish. Trish is a Shire and is Diana’s personal horse, although I don’t think Trish particularly cares too much for Roper. Roper is also quite fond of Molly, the blond bombshell, and she seems to enjoy — or at least tolerate — his amorous attention. Okay, that sets the stage so now I can move on. Good thing, too. I was starting to get depressed because, apparently, I really AM the lowest ranking male around here. Even the horses rank higher than me! πŸ˜‰

So all the other horses are in their villas. Roper is free in the main corral. I bring in Quinn and release him in the main corral. Diana does the same with Charlie. All this happens under the watchful eyes of the horses contained within their villas. Okay… let the interaction begin.

Quinn immediately feels uneasy and moves out of the confined area in between the villas and heads down towards the more open area. Roper, who is now the highest-ranking, free male in the corral, starts following Quinn very closely. Charlie lags behind, but he is paying attention, watching things unfold.

Charlie keeping an eye on Quinn.

Roper herds Quinn around, dogging his every move. First along the back fence line, then into the corner, then back out into the open. Roper wants to drive home the point that, at least temporarily, he is boss of the corral and he wants Quinn to know it. Quinn, unsure and uncertain, doesn’t want to debate the issue at all, he simply wants to stay as far away from Roper as possible.

This feeling-out process continues with an unrelenting Roper herding Quinn around the corral. Charlie, Quinn’s buddy, and a much bigger and higher-ranking horse than Roper, decides enough is enough. Charlie moves down and deliberately places himself in between Roper and Quinn. Whenever Roper tries to move on Quinn, Charlie aggressively challenges Roper with mock attempts at biting and makes Roper back off. Charlie remains Quinn’s bodyguard for five or ten minutes and then rejoins Diana and me under the tree.

Trish, the love of Roper’s life, is in the main barn. Out of sight. Out of mind. So Roper eventually assumes a protective and possessive position near HV4 where, Molly, the second love of his life, is located. Quinn stays down in the open part of the corral, thankful to finally be left alone. Roper begins showering Molly with affectionate nips and bites as if to prove to Quinn that Molly is his girl. Molly returns the affection as if to let Roper know that she is proud of how he protected her from the new male intruder, and to let Quinn know that she did, indeed, come to this dance with Roper. IΒ  had to smile thinking how this very same scenario plays out with their human counterparts (a guy and a gal and another guy) every weekend in human corrals (bars and nightclubs) across the country. πŸ˜‰

Quinn remains a safe distance, pacing around, trying to look as though he is unfazed and disinterested. Once he even laid down and took a dust bath just to prove to everyone, and to himself, that he was taking everything in stride, no big deal. Charlie remains with Diana and me, enjoying whatever he can get in the way of attention and affection.

After the dust bath, Quinn sees a friendly face — mine — and walks over for a little reassurance because, the truth is, Quinn is under a bit of stress. I walk backwards to try and entice him to come up a little closer, but he only follows me so far and that’s it, he refuses to come any closer.

Diana then brought Trish into the main corral. Trish is already familiar with Quinn because she, Quinn, and Charlie often roam around the ranch together. But, like Charlie, she chose to stay with Diana and me, looking for attention and wanting her belly scratched.

Diana and I, and Charlie and Trish, were standing under the tree, next to HV 4, where Roper and Molly were making out. As Quinn’s pacing continued, and tired of being out there all alone, he slowly began moving up towards HV4. There are three hay bags hanging on the fence, each one a little closer to HV4. Testing the waters, Quinn walked over to the first hay bag, the one furthest away, pretending he just wants to eat some hay. Roper had no reaction. Quinn, emboldened by Roper’s lack of interest, then walks up closer to the second hay bag, again pretending he just wants to eat. Again, no reaction from Roper. Quinn is now starting to think everything is cool, that he has them all faked out. Further emboldened, he walks up to the closest hay bag, which is only about fifteen feet away from Molly. Still Roper seems to ignore him. Quinn is now feeling his Cheerios so he walks right up the HV 4 so he can check out the hot looking blonde.

Quinn pushing his luck. Molly in the villa. Roper in front.

Suddenly, Roper takes off, faster than a guy his age should be able to launch himself from a dead start, and charges full bore towards Quinn. This scares the hell out of Quinn and he takes off running away from Roper. Charlie and Trish remain stationary. Diana is used to this, so she remains unfazed. The new ranch hand mutters something under his breath that sounds a lot like, “Holy *$#&@!” πŸ˜‰

I got the last of it on video.

After about an hour, not wanting to stress Quinn out anymore than is necessary, Diana ends this exercise. I went down and gave Quinn the hug he was wanting a little earlier and led him back to the safety of his private quarters. The process of introducing Quinn to the other horses in the main corral will take awhile. In time, he will be accepted and become part of the herd, and he will assume whatever rank he is capable of establishing and defending.

Having never watched something like this before, the pics and videos I got aren’t spectacular. I post them only because that is all I have to show for this exercise. This exercise took a little less than an hour and, for the most part, nothing really happened. Occasionally, there would be a flurry of activity… and then, just as suddenly as it started, the flurry was over and we went back to nothing happening. Next time, I will be a little more conscious of when those flurries might occur and hope to get better pics and videos the next time around.