First of all I am happy to report that Jasper and I are very happily back on track! More on that in another entry…
I’m trying a new video widget called Vodpod, in the right column so let me know if you have problems viewing the videos.
Jasper has shared his paddock with a pmu baby named Sammy since last summer. Sammy is younger than Jasper by about a year and a half and he has legs like a giraffe. And he is very passive. Although they have gotten along well, Jasper, herd leader that he is, is boss and can be a bit of a pain in the butt as Jasper constantly herds him.
Yesterday Michelle talked with me about putting Honey and Jasper together. Honey is an enormous Belgian draft former pmu mare that has lived beside Jasper and Sammy for quite some time now. I didn’t think it would be much of a problem. Jasper always likes to greet Honey over the fence when we walk by and give her a playful nip, not one ounce of aggression between them. A big alpha mare type like Honey could be just what Jasper needs.
In my observations, of all the horses on the ranch Jasper is the most respectful of the crabby old mares. The crabbier the better. Heh, as many of you know, in wild herds it isn’t the stallion that is boss. Oh no sir-ee.
It’s the mares 🙂
After all, for up to a year of his life, Jasper lived with a herd of almost 100 former pmu mares and their offspring. Many of them looked a lot like Honey – old alpha types, large girls, who had probably been bred too many times in their life. Being in that situation, he was taught manners and respect from not just one mom, but an entire HERD of moms:
‘The herd’ in Alberta in 2005. That’s me in the middle taking photos on a chilly October day.
This was only about HALF the herd!
One of the first times I laid eyes on Jasper and not surprisingly, he is first to the
hay bale! I really didn’t notice him all that much at the time, as I had so
many foals I needed to photograph.
Jasper and his mom – can you believe he was only
5 months old in this picture?!? He is starting to look a lot
like her – just bigger
After his lesson yesterday, we decided to put them in the same paddock and see what happened. I could tell Michelle wanted to be cautious. Sometimes these intros can get ugly and considering how big Honey is, she wanted to make sure I stood clear of the gate because that would be the first thing Honey would crash through, and I mean crash. This is one big girl! I saw the gate she crushed soon after she had arrived and I swear it looked like something out of Godzilla. She really is a sweet horse – but very, very protective of her food. If some of the horses in the paddocks next to hers even come NEAR the fence when she is eating, she kicks and screams and gets very angry. But her and Jasper always seemed to like each other, even though they was a fence separating them.
Well, an amazing thing happened. There were no fireworks at all. In fact, violin concertos should have been playing in the background, it was truly a romantic scene !! 4 of us just stood there oohing and aahing over how cute the whole thing was!
(See video in the column to the right of this blog post called ‘Jasper get’s a bit o Honey’)
Honey spent a few minutes in the paddock by herself, then we brought Jasper in. He
walked up to her, then stopped as she walked away. It was clear she was calling
the shots and he would have to ask if he could come up to her.
Jasper politely nosing Honey
(See video in the column to the right of this blog post called ‘I think it’s love’)
I think I’m in looooove
Oh yeah, this could work
Do you think he’s smitten??
Waiting for dinner together
Dinner was interesting. Since they are both pretty bossy about their food, we expected neither would bother each other. In the picture below, Honey left her food pile and started to circle Jasper, intending to take a bit of his pile. But that was not to be, Jasper shot her a look that said ‘not a chance’, and that was that, Honey went back to her pile. (See video in the column to the right of this blog post called ‘That’s my food’)
All in all, it seems to be a match made in heaven. They really look cute together and hey, they both have ginormous heads!
Michelle emailed me later in the evening to tell me that HONEY WAS ACTUALLY SHARING HER HAY WITH JASPER! I don’t think she could believe her own eyes. Perhaps they both realized they are Canadian kindred spirits, born from generations of pmus.
They spent the night together without incident.