He chases a wisp of hay in the corner, and she lifts her head to observe. He snorts with pleasure as he catches the stray piece, and then shakes his head. She follows suit within her own stall, and watches him through the bars. Her lack of concern borders on relief.
It’s almost time. The time that she’ll cuss me out and call me every name in the horsey book. The time that he’ll wish the fence would crumble and fall to dust.
The time that they’re separated. Permanently.
They’ll both stay here. They’re not going anywhere except separate pastures with other playmates. It’s time to broaden their horizons and test their strength. It’s time to show them that there’s more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than dreamt of in [their] philosoph[ies].
Honey and Mumma will go into the RAMM pasture while Sidney and Applejack will remain in the wooden pasture.
I’ve been told it’s easier on the horses when they’re unable to see each other during weaning, but I just can’t get behind that school of thought. I’ve gradually started to lock them into separate stalls for a few hours each day, and it’s gone very well–even when they can see each other from a few stalls down, or can’t see each other at all.
Besides, Mumma’s milk is dry. He’s sucking air when he goes in for a taste. He’s head-butting her poor teats and nipping her constantly.
And she’s such a sweetheart that she lets him.
Sidney and Honey are the lowest on the totem pole for their respective herds, so they’ll be perfect to initiate Chex and Applejack into their groups. Then, when I move the horses into the paddocks (Mumma into the mare paddock, Applejack in with the boys) the transition will be smoother.
There are a few steps inbetween. I’ve let Chex meet the girls, and Applejack has sniffed Twist, Dusty, and Zeus through the stall bars. Jack has even been in with Sidney for a few weeks when Sidney was meeting Mumma and Jack. (I’ve always known Sidney would be the perfect babysitter.) The mares and geldings will be added from the bottom of the totem pole into the pasture one-at-a-time. I’m taking no chances with my precious baby boy or his exquisite mother.
The peace of horses eating floods over me and elevates my spirit. Jack gives me a once-over, assessing whether or not I carry treats. If I call his name, he bounds over as if to ask, “What kind of fun shall we have now?” If he’s in the paddock grazing, all I have to do is call, “JackJack! Come here, baby boy!” and he’ll gallop in my direction the moment he sees me.
Soon, I’ll be his Mumma. Until then, I’ll share parenting duties.