We took the horses to some of Hall Ranch's leased pasture last week (Wed.) Thur. I flew to Phoenix to visit our oldest son for his birthday. On the way, we swung by the horses to see if they had integrated well with the rest of the herd - six others. It was particularly refreshing to have them - all of them - come racing down the hill to us when we called them. Well, OK, two of Ida's were a tad stand-offish and didn't come all the way, but our three were plenty happy to come say hi.
Today, when I arrived back in CO, Bill picked me up at the airport and we naturally had to stop by and check the horses on our way home. We noticed a couple of oddities: the grays were separated and we could only find two groups of three. Three horses missing. The first group was Jesse, Peanut and Cannon standing at the fenceline with the neighbor's two horses. They came a running when called, got burrs pulled out of their manes and went for water. We walked up the hill to find the other group of three: Ranger, Washoe and Doc. No more horses. Again, they came a running when called and then followed us back towards the first three. Wow, what burrs! Jesse's mane and Cannon's tale were huge knots. Sooo, Jesse is lording it over all those males.
We decided that Ida must have needed the other three horses-Brownie, Paint, and Dutch-to help her gather her lost heifers. She was missing three cows and their mini horse, Tigger. She called Bill later to tell him she had found the cows and gotten them gathered, but (boo hoo) no Tigger. We all think he has probably become mountain lion chow. Some neighbors of their property had shown them some pictures of a very large cat in that area. I think that was the reason for Ida moving the stock in the first place. We are all really sorry, but he was just the right size to trigger the chase response in a lion, and he could really run - but not faster than a large cat.
At first we marveled that she would use those particular horses for looking for cattle, then realized she has cut herself a little short on rideable horses. She sold her favorite, Estes, to our daughter a couple years ago, then the next two well-trained cow horses, Meeker and Audobon, have babies at their side. Doc and Cannon are not saddle trained yet and she says Peanut is too lazy/slow. Sissy isn't ready for that rugged mountainside yet and Andromeda is barely two. OK, Ida, you just might have to borrow a gray now and then. I would love to have her use one of my horses for cow work, even though I know they don't have the caliber of training her horses do.