I want to talk about my winter vacation, but first, I have a new BFF! It is TANGO! She is much nicer than Clay, even if she is the boss of me. But that is OK. I was the boss of Clay because he is young and stupid, and I am experienced and smart. Tango is young too, but it is OK that she is the boss of me because she is a mare. And all smart horses know that mares are supposed to be in charge. They are wise not like some horses around here I can think of.
All fall when I was trying very hard to explain to Clay over and over and over that he is young and stupid and needed to pay attention to what I had to say…and to leave me the heck alone sometime, already…and he was just at me constantly with that stupid carrot, there was Tango right in the next paddock, all by herself. But when it started to get cold for the winter, she came into the barn at night, and she was in the stall next to me. We share a window! It is not a window that a horse can put their head through, because it has bars, but it is a window a horse can sniff noses through and have a talk at night without keeping all the other horses up. She told me that she wanted to have a herd. I can be in a paddock by myself and I am fine, but she needed more horses. So I said to her I would be in her herd if I could convince the people to let me go with her instead of Clay. But for a long time, it was just getting sassed by Clay, and having to bite him and kick him to keep him in his place, and the fake carrot. Then I heard my rider talking to Laura about how maybe I should go in with Tango, and then, it happened. First I went in a paddock by myself, and my rider said if I was good I would get to go with Tango later, and I said I would be very good, and I was. And the rider told Tango to think about it too, but she did not need to think about it because we had already worked it out through our window. And the next day, there we were, me and Tango in our new herd.
It is not all fun and games, though! Tango is a slob. She makes big messes with the water bucket. She likes to turn it over and make the water go on the ground. She thinks this is funny. I think it is a little funny, but I am a thirsty horse, and I do not want all the water to go on the ground. So we are having to work that out. Also, she is definitely the boss of me, even though she is a little pony and I am a huge horse. She says to me “Huey! You go stand over there!” and I had better do that, and do it fast! Because if I do not, she gives me one chance. She shows me her butt, and it does not take a super genius horse like me to know what is coming next! I better move or I am going to get kicked. And, unlike with Clay who is another boy, I do not kick Tango because she is a mare. It is not my place to go kicking mares.
I made a mistake about that this morning. My rider was gone for a lot of the week, which I did not like. I love being in the paddock with Tango, but I love it when my rider comes, because my rider brushes me and gives me massages and Tango does not. Also, my rider sometimes has treats, and Tango only has the same hay I do, and water, unless she has spilled it all over the ground. The last time my rider was out to the barn, we had a little conversation, all of us, to figure out who exactly is the leader of the herd. Laura is the Top Mare, and she is the leader of the herd for everyone, even Bug. But when Laura is not there is it more complicated. Tango though maybe she would be the leader of a herd that has me and my rider in it, but my rider said No, Tango is only the leader of the herd when it is just me and Tango. My rider is the leader of the herd when she is here. The big question was whether the herd is me and my rider, and Tango is not in that herd, or if it is me and Tango in my rider’s herd. I think we all agreed that it would be us horses in a herd together and my rider is the herd boss. My rider does not ride Tango too, but my rider can make Tango get out of the way, like Tango can make me get out of the way, and that makes my rider the boss of Tango too.
It is even more complicated, because I think that when my rider is there, I should also be the boss of Tango, because of having my own special person around. This means that I am a Special Horse, and Tango should listen to me then. But Tango does not agree. She thinks my rider gets to be her person too, and she is very pushy on my rider. You would not believe what she did today! My rider came in, and she had the halter so I was going to go work maybe, but while I was standing there being a Very Good Horse and going right into that halter, what do you think happened? First, my rider jumped a little bit which scared me a little bit, and I said “Hey! What are you jumping around for!” and she said “There was something on my ear!” and I understand that and why it made her jump, so I said “OK.” But then the rider started laughing because she turned around, and what do you think it was that went on her ear?
Right. It was Tango.
Tango snuck up behind my rider and she put her nose way up in the air (because she is a short pony, you know) and she put her muzzle right on my rider’s ear and tried to lick it. The rider laughed, but I did not think this was funny, and I put my nose over to Tango and bumped her and said “You leave my rider alone! You do not get to lick my rider. That is my rider.” and then I licked the rider just to show. The rider said “Huey is right. You cannot do that, Tango. You have to go away.” and Tango said she did not want to, so the rider took the end of the lead rope and made a snake just like she used to with Clay and she sent that rope snake right over to Tango’s haunch and made Tango jump away.
So that is how I know that my rider is the boss of Tango too. Tango may be able to bump me around all day long, because she is my boss, but she does not get to bump my rider around at all. Then my rider made Tango stay in the paddock. Tango thought the whole herd was going to be on the move, and my rider went in front, and then I went, and Tango came right up behind. But the rider said “No” to Tango and only let me out of the gate. Tango did not like to be left behind and so she bucked up and raced around the paddock to show us all how she felt.
Really, Tango is a very lucky pony. First, she has a great herd, me. Second, my rider does give her scratches too. My rider gives a good scratch, and Tango is much hairier than I am, so she needs a lot of scratches. She gets extra when my rider comes to get me.
I am also a lucky horse, because now it is really winter even though there is not any snow. But it is cold every day. It was windy yesterday! That wind made me want to race around a lot and jump up in the air, but it did not, because it was also very cold! But now that it is cold, the ground is hard, and I guess that means that I do not have to work. My rider has been out to comb me and massage me and talk to me and do carrot stretches, but she has not ridden me in ages. I do not know how I feel about this. I like working with my rider, and I think I do not get enough exercise now, but what is a horse going to do? It is winter.
Today, I had a special treat. I got a little massage and a lot of brushing. My rider wanted to brush my face but I do not like to have my face brushed. It tickles. But she said I had to, and made me put my head down. She said if I did not want to get my face brushed I should not put mud all over it. I told her I did not put mud all over my face on purpose, it just happens. She said as long as it is happening, I will have to get my face brushed. She said if she leaves mud on my hair, I could get itchy spots. I said I do not care about itchy spots, I do not have them now and that is all that matters. She said I would care if I got them, and it was her responsibility as the herd leader to make sure that did not happen. And she was right, so I said OK. She says the same thing about my feet, too. Not that they will get itchy spots, but that she has to pick them and brush them even if we are not working because if something happened to them it was her responsibility to get them fixed. I am glad to be in a herd where the leader knows this.
I am also glad to be in a herd that has treats. Today I had special new treats. They were shaped like a carrot, only flat. But they tasted like carrots, too. The only thing better would have been a real carrot, and I had one of those yesterday. My rider gave me the treats when it was time to go back to the paddock. After she took my halter off I stood for a minute. Usually I like to run off and see what the other horses are doing, or if there is maybe some hay. But this time, I had a feeling. I thought maybe my rider might have another carrot cookie, and I was right. She said “Good boy, Huey!” and she gave me that cookie.
Tango saw it, of course, and she asked the rider where was her carrot cookie, but the rider said she did not have any more and then my rider left the paddock. So then Tango was not happy, and she said “Your rider is gone, which makes me herd leader. Huey! You go stand over there.” but instead of going over there like I should have, I said “I am still chewing my carrot cookie! I do not want to go over there yet.” and oh, boy, what a mistake that was. Before I could even flick an ear, Tango had put her butt to me and wham she kicked with both feet and walloped me good on the side. I said “OW! You did not have to do that!” but I was moving over where she told me while I was talking. She said “Next time I tell you to go stand somewhere, you better do it and no more sass.”
And she was the herd leader, and she was right.