Grit Blogs > Russ-Stick Ramblings

Mustang Mayhem

3 + 1 = change.

Big change, when it comes to adding another horse into the mix.

It's a slow, painstakingly slow, process.

A week ago Friday, we added another horse.

But it wasn't just any horse. 

It was Traveler, who had been here before, years ago, for a short period of time.

We weren't anticipating much reaction, as he knew all our horses. 

Nothing much had changed, except the fact that 4 years had passed...

and our young horses had grown into a mature herd.

It started with our good friend, with a trailer, as we don't own one.

Once a horse is at our place, if he leaves, he leaves by hoof power.


I was excited, following behind, as we traveled deep into the Jordan Valley and beyond.


Upon arriving, we loaded Traveler without incident and began our trek home. 

Coming home less than an hour later, our 3 horses were immediately on alert,

seeing the trailer pull down our long drive.

It resulted in a whinny or two (or three) as the truck pulled to a stop.


With the assistance of Russ, Traveler slowly exited the trailer without incident or concern.


And he began to become familiar with his new surroundings.


Once on terra firma, 

a cough the size of Texas prompted an emergency

Friday night visit from Chris Randall, DVM, our new large animal vet.

Medications were dispensed, injection given, and worries alleviated.

We were assured Traveler wasn't contagious, which was our first concern.

So, with a green light, the introductions of the geldings began.

First, Raz ... our largest horse, who is Russ' main riding horse, and work-horse-in-training.


Then Nauish (Now-eesh), our youngster of the crowd, another BLM Mustang, who is still in training.


Perhaps they are sharing secrets of their Mustang heritage.


Then Buck, the smallest and oldest, and our first horse ever, at Russ-Stick Acres.


Then, it was time to introduce Traveler to our fence boundary.


Even though he had been here for a short period of time, 4 years ago, he needed reminders.


We didn't want the excitement of the increased herd to plow a horse through the fence.


Unknowingly or otherwise.

It is always worth the effort when it comes to the safety of horses.


The excitement grew as the horses realized they were growing in numbers.


Our 3 horses were a cohesive unit.  Would they accept a 4th horse?


Once Traveler was in "their" area, on Saturday, the introductions continued.


Note...the quickly constructed shelter from the other round pen was for naught.

The construction took place due to his arriving ill,

keeping us busy while waiting for the vet to arrive,

with the possibility of Traveler being quarantined looming before us.


Now in the new area with the other horses nearby,

circling the round pen like whirling dervishes,

it was made obvious more fencing would need to be in place.

Introductions weren't going as well as we had hoped.


Wire, flags, posts, dust, dirt, sweat, missed anticipated grilled Saturday dinner,

wiped brows, sore backs, and hours later, it was accomplished.

A new area, all his own, which also included the round pen. 

The result ~ flagged fencing that kept Traveler a wire away from the 3 other horses.

Traveler would be near the other horses, but separate. 

Only able to chat over the pink-flagged single wire fence.


Sunday, fine. 

Monday, fine. 

Fence talk was working.

Monday night...not fine.

Chaos and destruction ensued.

Traveler decided he had been separate long enough. 

During the night he busted down a gate,

and tore through several strands of hot electric wire.

Not just in one section, but in several spots, decimating the existing fencing.

By early Monday morning, his task was complete. 

He got his way, as former band stallions often do.

He was in with the other horses, up close and personal, whether they liked it or not.

They didn't. 

Russ, upon getting his coffee early Tuesday morning,

stood in the window to survey our place,

as he does every morning with coffee cup in hand,

only to see a gate down, and ripped out fencing lying crumpled on the ground. 


The lightening-laden, thunder-clap Tuesday morning,

all day,

and well into the early evening hours, 

was spent reconstructing fences by Russ, donned in rain gear,

and no doubt sweat,

brought on by hard work.


One huge plus, our trio didn't leave.

In addition, Traveler didn't leave the multiple gaps of freedom, 

so hastily provided by his efforts. 


The horses role? 

They were coping with their new untimely, unwanted guest.


Lots of air kicks, snaking of heads, avoidance, confrontation,

strikes with front feet, rump bites,

and on and on.

Luckily, and surprisingly, this former band stallion, Traveler, didn't leave a mark. 

Nor did he have any marks from the trio.

And finally, things slowly settled down a tad.


The struggle of who's the boss continues a week later, but with less fanfare.

Still the snaking, the air kicks, and the bites on the rump.  But less frequent.

And more time spent on snagging new sweet grasses, and enjoying the weather changes.


We know that spring will roll into summer,

and the decision of who's in charge will still be played out, Mustang style.

Until tomorrow, God willing. 

robyn dolan
5/19/2011 9:37:27 AM

Oh, headaches! My mustangs now have a long, enduring relationship, but I still have one old guy that likes to play Houdini, and/or just get out and tear down fences once in awhile. He does stay on the property, though. Agree about introducing new chickens (or other poultry) at night. Always works for me.

sherry 'woodswoman'
5/19/2011 8:20:56 AM

Thanks for the comments K.C. and Nebraska Dave. Life has settled down once again. To Traveler be the victor. Yes, the 20 year-old former band stallion slowly climbed the ladder and is now the new leader of our quartet. All the horses appear content in their new roles. As for chickens, the best way is to introduce them at night. No fuss. All is fine by morning. Bottom line, it takes a little research and patience, and knowing how raw nature plays out in the animal (and human) kingdom.

k.c. compton
5/18/2011 9:16:51 AM

Thank you for sharing the story -- even though I can FEEL the pain-in-the-neck-ness of it coming right over the Internet. Still, lucky, lucky horses to have you caring about them. Here's to Traveler settling down quickly and the others setting out at least a little bit of welcome mat. --KC

nebraska dave
5/17/2011 8:53:57 PM

Sherry and Russ, I'm glad that things are settling down a little bit. I guess boys can be boys no matter what species they are. I was just reading another blog the other day and they were telling about the introduction of new chicken into their flock. It sounded pretty brutal as the pecking order was re aligned. To some degree there is discomfort when new folks are introduced into our familiar circle of friends as well but thankfully we have better ways to work it out than raw instinct. I for one am glad about that. I might be a hard worker but I'm definitely not a fighter .... well, unless someone threatens my family. Hopefully, very soon things will be back to normal. Have a great day on the Russ-Stick Ramblings farm.