The Beta Mare

The boyfriend and I spent today, holding Tardis away from food. My vet was coming by in the afternoon, to take blood samples, and she wanted Tardis to have been without food for 8 hours beforehand.

Since I have no stall, no dirt paddock, nowhere to lock her up without food, because everything I usually do is design my pasture so that my horses are never without food, I settled for having to hold her for 8 hours.

I won’t lie. It was freezing. Luckily the boyfriend was up for taking her 4 hours in the middle of the day, so I could make it home and get something to eat, and unfreeze my feet. Tardis was amazing though.

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She didn’t complain once. She asked a few times, if she could eat, but once I told her “no,” she accepted it without a fight. She never pulled on the rope, she never tried to run, or push me around. She was mostly, slightly curious as to what this was all about.

It quickly started raining, so I decided to spend some time teaching Tardis to be inside the house with the others. She never likes that, but she trusts me to have her back, so it worked out pretty well. Saleem and Apocalipse was all nice and sweet to her, knowing that she was on a rope and remembering my ground rule. Anypony in a halter gets a pass. Nopony beats the one who cannot defend itself.

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I will say, as much as one might think that it would be boring to hold a horse for 8 hours, it wasn’t. Tardis is the beta mare of my herd. Being handcuffed to her for 5 hours, as I turned out to be, was amazing.

I did not ask her to do anything, except, please don’t eat. Other than that, if she wanted to walk, we walked. If she wanted to sleep, we slept. If she wanted water, we headed for the water barrels.

And the herd was right behind us at all times. I know I spend a lot of time sitting on my pasture, observing my horses on an everyday basis, but being one with the beta mare for 5 hours, was a rare glimpse into how well oiled a machine a herd like mine is. How everypony has his place, how they all play a role, and how they all know exactly where the others are and what they are doing at all hours of the day.

My boys has a strong schedule. They eat, then they sleep for half an hour, then they play for half an hour, and then they eat again. That is mostly what they do all day.

The beta mare tells them to eat, when she thinks they have run around and been foals enough. Then, the alpha “stallion,” Saleem, decides when they are done eating, and goes to sleep. Apocalipse, the stallions right hand man, follows quickly, as do the beta mare, while Ablaze and Marble, the herd foals, keep eating a little longer.

Once Saleem wakes up, he provokes either Apocalipse or Tardis. The beta mare shuts him down, usually. She is not one for playing. But once Saleem gets Apocalipse into running, she runs along, making sure the foals don’t stray from the alpha and his second in command.

Saleem was amazing to observe today. He started practically every fight, he played with Apocalipse a lot, and when Apocalipse backed down, he went on to provoke Ablaze. Then he played with him, rearing and biting, with no contact, like only Saleem and his buddies can. And once Saleem had played enough, he pushed Ablaze on Marble, making sure the foals got to run around with each other a little.

Saleem did try and engage Tardis a few times. Apocalipse did too. And they both instantly backed down when she turned an ear in their direction. I did let her run, when the herd ran. Yes, I’ve been running a lot today. It was nice. Not as cold as standing still, trust me. So Tardis and I played along, and ran along. And she didn’t hate being chained to me. All day, she found me rather curious.

We ended up sleeping inside the house, all of us. That has never happened before. I am so proud of them. Wup wup!

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And of course the vet was an hour late, because she got a call about a sick cow at the last minute, so we ended up not eating for 9 hours. Tardis was pretty tired in the end. I am guessing her blood sugar was running a bit low.

Once the vet showed up, my gang welcomed her, and since I could not let go of Tardis, and the boyfriend had gone home to unfreeze, the poor vet had to take blood samples in the middle of my herd. Tardis, of course, freaked out, and jumped about like a kangaroo, because she hates needles and the vet was here yesterday, sedating her and fixing her teeth, so there was no way she was going to poke any needles into her again.

Once we got Tardis calmed down, the gang closed in around us, Apocalipse licking the blood of the vets fingers, as she tried to take the samples, Saleem kissing the vets face, (she should be honored, he does not kiss many people like that,) Marble sticking to Tardis like Velcro, and Ablaze biting my jacket.

Welcome to my circus. We are actually very well behaved. We are just a unit. We do everything as a team. At all times. I can hardly blame them for behaving like this. I mean, come on. I have never owned 5 horses who welcome the vet like that. They are so trusting and open minded, I am not sure I have the words to describe it.

Ablaze even helped me hold his mom today. I mean, come on.

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Okay, I’m tired. It’s been a long day. But an amazing one. I never fail to be impressed by these guys. And being one of them for a day, was a rare once in a lifetime experience.

Now, we just wait for answers on those tests. And smile, because we are still here, all of us.

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About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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