When Tricia was younger she was the head mare.  She owned that field and watched everything that went on in it. But she evolved into this role because her mom was 19 when she had Tricia, and her other field mate, Little Man, was exactly (like almost to the day) 15 months younger than T and also a mini.  The last ride I had on Patty she was 29.  We actually breezed out the road that runs around the farm and she surprised me with a small jump when we traveled over a garden hose.  She wasn’t frail, but arthritis was real for her at that age.  I think she had no problem allowing her younger and able daughter to take over running the field.  Tricia had been head mare at home starting when she was about five, so Pat would have been 24 at the time. She spent about 7 years in the role of head mare.

Patty ride
My last ride with Patty.


Where we started out boarding in VA there was only Tricia and another mare, Lilly,  in her field.  They became fast friends, and other than a few normal squabbles in the beginning there wasn’t much of a fight over who was going to run everything.  They kinda co-chaired that field.  Patty was a unique soul in that she had been starved and rescued before we got her.  She didn’t deny anyone food, and would share her hay with anyone that approached her.  She never fought for dominance in the field, but would often manipulate her way into a position she wanted. Tricia definitely gets her smarts from Pat. Because Tricia and Little Man grew up with this attitude of sharing and fairness, they also expect the same thing in the field with other horses. Tricia conveyed that to Lilly, and Little Man has conveyed it to the two littler minis that he now has a companions at the farm in GA. It’s my hope in the next couple of years to get a yearling for Tricia and Little Man to raise.  I know that might sound silly, but pasture dynamics can be a big deal in the creation of horse personality, and I’d like to see this same fair and kind tradition be passed on.

Tricia and the minis in GA

Where Tricia was in VA there were two really boss mares that ran the field of four mares.  Tricia’s almost 19 and she’s (finally! sooo many scratches when she was little!) learned that stubborn dog fighting like she did as a kid gets you no where.  She ended up at the bottom of field in rank.  She never really connected with any of the mares.  And the one mare she did befriend was lame when she entered the field and was often picked on.  Tricia defended her while she was lame, but as she got better she would often pick on T and eventually squabbled her to the last rank. Tricia could care less what happened to those mares. Leave the field?  Bu-bye bitches! If only humans could handle mean girls so easily!

It appears there are no frenemies in NC though.  And while I feel dreadful for B (the minor rider who is now partnering with Tricia), I was happy to hear that Tricia misses her field mates.  Terri says she spent her walk breaks in the last lesson calling to them.  Poor B!  Sending Tricia to Terri’s was scary for me, in that we were almost ready to send her with my last pregnancy…and then everything fell apart-no just losing the baby, but Tricia spend a month in ICU and I wasn’t sure I wasn’t going to lose her too. So, again this may be silly, but I looked at this trip as sending Tricia to “summer camp”. Terri’s place is a horsey wonderland, and Tricia loves kids, so I knew this would be fun for her.  And even though I do feel sorry for B, I am so tickled that after having years of frenemies that my girl has found a group of ladies she really likes! I know she’ll eventually settle in and that the friend crying will end; it’s all just new right now.  But secretly (maybe not so much) I am really glad she’s in a place where she’s enjoying herself and is happy with her field mates.


2 thoughts on “Frenemies

  1. Its a good feeling when you know your horse is happy and has friends. It was nerve wracking for me to add a new horse to my small herd. Gem and Pete are always at the very bottom in any herd but together they share meals, hay, water and groom and never kick, bite or squeal at each other. Any ad that said alpha or dominant in the herd was automatically ignored. H’Appy fits in really well though. He is annoying, like a toddler constantly saying “I’, not touching you”with their finger in your face, but he doesn’t push them around, kick or bite and is playful with Pete when the old man wants to play. It really couldn’t have worked out better.


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