It’s February now and Sterling is coming 4 years old. He acted in a more stallion like way than I have seen before and I can see by his behavior how he would be attractive to mares.
So, there were goose hunters collecting white snow goose decoys at dusk and all the horses were on high alert because they were jumping in and out of the ditch and looking sneaky even though they were 1000 yards away from us. I came out to feed in the middle of this attention. I got all the food ready and called the girls to come in and all but Summer gave up on the hunters and came to dinner. She and Sterling were looking with high intent at the hunters. Summer turned to run into the barn but couldn’t stay in her stall to settle and eat, she just turned around and ran out at full attention to watch the predators.
I waited on her and invited her in and stayed with her until she settled and could eat. Then I went out to feed the boys. They live together inside of the track the girls live on. Harley is the bay gelding.
As always I brought out the boys buckets and proceeded to the round pen where Harley eats. He followed me right over while Sterling watched the hunters. I poured Harley’s food in his bowl and he began to eat and I went to feed Sterling. As soon as I exited the round pen, Sterling let out a loud blow of air with a big woosh; that got Harley’s attention and now he too was on high alert.
I continued to walk to Sterling ‘s bowl and he tracked with me all the way to the back though 150 yards away. He was very animated in his movement looking every bit like a stallion, blowing hard and loud on high alert and letting everyone know it. While he was breath taking, I was staying very grounded appreciating his concern and attention yet not feeding it, afterall, I knew there was no real danger to us. I put his food in the bowl and got focused on the hunters making sure he knew I also knew and used our Social Intelligence (or collective knowing) to help him relax. I was not close to him, just standing calmly, breathing slowly and intentionally, he trotted himself right over to me and we stood together watching but only for a moment when I turned to walk toward his dinner.
We stopped about 10 feet from the bowl where Sterling was now calm and present to dinner, we shared a soft slow connected touch of “all is right in the world” and went to his dinner together.
I turned to leave but he instantly came with me, so I walked over to a jump in the field about 20 feet from him and sat facing the hunters. He was able to eat in peace. Each time I glanced back at him, he was eating while watching me.
I was eventually able to walk away while he finished eating. The hunters began to look less concerning when they began to walk to their truck. I looked back to Sterling and when he was done, he galloped right over to me. I did not have a concern in the world, he sidled up right next to me and we watched the hunters together. I stayed with him for a long time while they got in their truck and left.
Then a couple of interesting things happened, when the danger was over. I went in to let the girls out from dinner and Summer came out first, she ran right over to Sterling and for the first time put her nose over the fence to visit with him. Anyone who knows the relationship that my horses have know Summer is the only one of the mares who has had no interest in Sterling whatsoever. I believe it is because as a thoroughbred broodmare, she did not have, well, any say in the matter of stallions. Summer has never, since Sterling came as a 6 month old had any interest in him. But this protective Stallion that showed up seemed to interest her! I mean, how much experience does a domesticated mare actually have with stallions outside of the domesticated way we breed them? Usually stallions are kept far away from mares and the mares seem to be frustrated by the geldings they get to interact with! Ladies, what is attractive to us?
This is Summer.