Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Hierarchy Unraveled. Or, The Big Guy Finally Stands Up For Himself. Or, Where is a Camera When You Need One?

First a quick note to Those Who Scoffed At My Last Post (you know who you are!). OK. I admit I am looking out at the 10" of snow that we got yesterday. Still...that does not mean Legs is wrong. He only predicts that spring is coming, not how soon it will get here. So there!

Second, I need to preface this post with a bit of information on the hierarchy of our little herd.

Dusty: 14.3 hand, 22 year old palomino QH. He is our alpha, and damn good at it! Best alpha I have ever known. He keeps the others in line by acting like he will rip them to shreds, but never actually makes contact. If the farm were a high school, Dusty would be the squat but powerful jock type that everyone fears, but few know well.

Skylar: 15 hand, 7 year old palomino QH. Skylar is Mr. Popularity. Friends to all, be they human, horse, cat, or dog. Both Dusty and Skylar belong to V. She had a thing for Trigger growing up :o)

Zachary: 6 month old 150 lb. mini-donkey. Kind of like the kid brother who is always hanging around. And finally...

Legs: 16.1 hand, 21 year old chestnut OTTB. A.K.A "Leg Man", "Oucho Marx", and "The One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Chestnut Carrot Eater" (Pic at right is before we removed that left eye...he's still just as cute!). Legs is the recluse, the introvert. He's a lover, not a fighter.

Yes, you have read this hierarchy correctly. Though good buddies with Skylar, Legs is decidedly the low man on the totem pole. Even below Zachary; the little booger regularly chases the Big Man off his hay pile. Guess those big ears can be pretty scary when pinned back.

That may have changed this morning. We'd thrown out extra hay due to the aforementioned snow, and because temps were supposed to linger around freezing until early afternoon, everyone went out in their blankets. I was in the barn banging ice out of the water buckets when I heard V yelling out back, something along the lines of "Put him down!".

I ran out to see what happened and saw Legs standing protectively over a pile of hay, calmly holding the tail flap of Zachary's blanket in his teeth. Poor Zach's front legs were still on the ground, but his back legs were kicking uselessly in the air.

I'm not a mother in the traditional sense, though I consider my dogs, cat, and horse to be my "children." I'm not sure if the mixture of horror and pride that I felt would be a natural maternal response to seeing a child - previously bullied by all - suddenly stand up for himself. Still, Zachary is one-tenth Legs' size. Is this something to be proud of?

Yet proud I was, especially when Legs, with a sigh of resignation, did set Zach down and push him away. No harm, no foul. Only time will tell if this new hierarchy will stick. My only real fear now is that Zachary's back hooves would land at Legs' knee level if he were so inclined to retaliate.

Because no one got hurt, V and I did share a laugh over the whole situation. And where the heck is a camera when you need one? $10,000 buys s lot of alfalfa!


  1. Omigosh, I was laughing out loud as soon as I read this. Best of all, you have a gift for telling the story perfectly.

    Go, Legs!! It's about time you stood up for yourself. Now perhaps the little bully will think twice about stealing your hay.

    Then again, donks are darn stubborn critters.

  2. hahaha, cute story! Did you all really get 10" of that white stuff up in NC?? I'm in Greenville SC and we didn't get but a dusting, even though it snowed ALL DAY LONG!!!

  3. Jean - thanks so much! Means a lot coming from an English teacher. I fancy myself a storyteller...
    Valerie - yes we did! Amazing what a difference a couple thousand feet make. Snowed all day here too - 10" Li'l Zach was up to his belly! He stayed in early today until the "Big Boys" tromped things down a bit.

  4. Ahahahaha!! That's fabulous! I so wish you had had your camera with you. You go, Legs, show that midget what's what.