Ashke has gotten himself quite the fan club. . . . he went from being by himself in his stall with empty stalls on either side to having a lady who LIKES him next to him. It really has settled him down, and he still whinnies at me when he hears us coming. Seriously. He focuses and works when he needs to, rather than acting out when I have him in the round pen. The Lady next to him is named Lacey and she's a big, beautiful buckskin paint mare with a black mane and tail. Down the aisle is the other part of Ashke's fan club, Lacey's filly foal - Stoli.
Stoli, despite being born of two paints, is a solid chestnut with a red mane and tail. She has a little star on her forehead and she's still pretty pissed about being separated from her momma. She is four and a half months old, moved in about a week ago, and was just weened. She's a beautiful little filly, handles easily and likes people. Her owner, Marit, and I talked tonight about turning her out with Ashke, since he gets along with all of the horses. Grace had suggested it to Marit and I was in agreement.
So, Ashke had a pretty easy night. I groomed him pretty good and then worked him for maybe fifteen minutes in the round pen with the surcingle and reins. I wanted to give his back a rest and I was really stressed from work. I thought the last thing I needed to do was ride him given my emotional state. I could have gone from stressed to frustrated and Ashke certainly didn't need to bear the brunt of that. After our brief work, I turned him out in the pasture. I had intended to go to Costco, but instead I was waylaid by Marit.
And once there is a baby involved, . . . I wasn't going any where.
Marit brought Stoli out and she and Ashke introduced themselves. Ashke sniffed her over pretty good and she flashed a tiny hoof. Ashke flipped his head and moved away. When he was about twenty feet from her, Ashke nickered with that faint, soft nicker that's just a fluttering of his nostrils, trying to entice Stoli to come graze with him.
Marit said they had tried turning Stoli out with another mare earlier, but Sheena wanted nothing to do with the filly and they kept a great deal of distance between them. Not so tonight.
Stoli followed Ashke around the pasture. She dropped her head, relaxed and grazed near him. There was maybe six feet separating them from each other. Ashke only took exception once when Stoli checked out his package to see if it was a dispenser. He pinned his ears and humped his back, but his foot didn't come off the ground more than six inches. It was enough to tell the baby he wasn't interested in her trying to nurse off of him. Stoli didn't try again. They just hung out with each other.
As night fell, Ashke moved back over to the gate, ready to go back into his stall. Stoli followed his example and we walked them back. Now, Ashke will be turned out with Stoli twice a week.
And he has Lacey right next to him to keep him company while he is in his stall. Marit told me that Ashke had managed to pull Lacey's fly mask off of her head and drop it in his stall sometime today, since that's where she found it. Joy. Heartbreaker. Flymask Taker. That's my boy.
(I'll get some pics on Friday of Stoli and Lacey to share so you can see what they look like.)