There has been a shifting of herd dynamics that has been a bit surprising.
The herd has gone from six to four. I found a fabulous home for Chief and Calypso. Both are headed north to teach kids to ride at a church camp in Wisconsin. I researched the camp (it's been around longer than I've been alive and has an excellent reputation. The horse facilities are top notch from the pictures I saw.), talked to the woman tasked with finding suitable horses for the program and I truly believe it's a good place for them. They will be used, loved, and well-cared for, which is exactly what I was looking for for both of them. And, they got to stay together, which I was really hoping for. I hope they will be happy, I know they will be loved and get loved on by kids, which both horses live for. Both can take or leave adults, but they both adore and are incredibly gentle with kids.
My heart broke as I watched them load up on to the trailer and drive away, and I cried, but I know it's for the best for both of them. I could never, ever be a horse trader or actively buy and sell horses. I get too attached to them. My pasture still looks empty without them there.
In the meantime, I thought there would be a huge shakeup in the herd dynamics for the remaining four, but, not so much. They all went out in the big pasture together yesterday (the paddocks are a mucky, yucky, horrible mess. The pasture isn't much better, but, it is what it is. Next big investment? A small barn.) and without a mare influencing them and moving them around, they settled quickly into an unexpected pecking order. Gabe is number two man on the totem pole. Shocked! Teddy, number one. Not so shocked.
Gabe buddied up with Kahlua (the pony, aka Little Lou) most of the day. The two acted like children, running, playing, rearing up at each other and "boxing." Gabe likes to grab the top of Lou's neck in his mouth and just hold him. Lou, who is a midget, gets irritated, and, since he can't reach Gabe's neck (again, the midget thing), rears up. Pretty soon, they are rearing at each other, "hoof boxing," then spinning to kick/buck and tear off in opposite directions only to come back and do the same thing again. They graze near each other and doze standing/laying together. Teddy lingers near the two but is perfectly happy playing every now and then, sometimes squashing squabbles he doesn't approve of. Montana, (the paint) he's the bottom of the pecking order, which was completely unexpected. He'll hang out near everyone, but hasn't really shown any interest in mingling.
I thought for sure Gabe would be bottom of the herd! Things could change, but, in the next few months, there will be more upheaval in the herd as Teddy leaves for his new digs in Colorado and I actively market Montana for sale.
I'm hoping that by the time summer officially rolls around I'll be down to just Gabe and Lou, which is why it pleases me so much that the two get along so well and play together nicely.