Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ben bullies Commander

Ben was a greedy piggy bully to Commander at lunchtime today.

When the wind permits, I like to hay the boys outside of the run-in, and have two tubs and haybags set up behind it. Even when there's some wind, it's sheltered there; the ground is hard-packed stone dust so it's not muddy; and the boys tend to clean up every scrap rather than trampling some into the muck and wasting it, as they do inside the run-in.

Normally, they each take a position at their own bag-over-tub station and eat peaceably. But the recent blizzard left a huge sweeping drift curving along the base of the slope up to the run-in, and Ben found it a cinch to block off Commander's access to the inner hay. That drift on which Ben's tail is just resting is only hock-high at that point, but it rises up to chest-high on Commander within a couple of feet.


I was watching from a few dozen feet away, hoping Commander would swing wide into the snow where it was shallower and come up around to the inner feeder; the drift had already been broken through near the fenceline (Ben chasing Commander, perhaps?), so surely he'd follow that path?

Nope. He stood patiently watching the big bully chow down, just waiting. He's certainly smart enough to know how to get there; I guess he just wasn't hungry enough make the hard work of plowing through the snow worth the effort.

So I grabbed a piece of baling twine, looped it around his neck, and took Commander around to the path (okay, spaced-out holes) in the drift, unbaling-twined him, and slapped his ample rump. Off he went, breaking through to hay, glorious hay! I followed him to dry ground, knee-deep even lurching precariously from hole to hole. At least I didn't actually fall into the electric fence.

After a pat for my gobbling Morgan and a snuggle with Ben (not to mention a lecture on sharing which he of course completely ignored), I left them contentedly munching away. It's amusing to see Ben, always an underhorse in every herd I'd ever seen him in before, exercising his royal prerogatives now that he has the little Morgan to push around. For his part, Commander doesn't seem to mind his second banana status; and somehow, if there's any hay to be found, there's always some hay to be found in his mouth.


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