Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Old Man Lost His Status

Well, it is something that I expected. Our old man finally lost his status to his son. Thunder our stallion is 26 years old and I had been expecting his son to take the lead for some time. Even with his advanced age Thunder is still spunky, but not like he once was. We have to really watch Thunder because he doesn't keep weight on like he used to. We feed the boys in their pasture and there has never been the issue of BC challenging his dad for his food. However, this past month or so we did notice that Thunder looked like he was dropping some weight. We wormed everyone since they were getting about due and still he didn't seem to pick up weight. So we started watching and because of his age, he eats much slower than he used to. Because of his age his feed is specially made to be easier to chew and easier to digest than the younger critters get. So anyway, as we were keeping as eye we finally saw it....the younger steal the older's food. So we have switched the horses around and Thunder is now in the goat pasture with the goats. We weren't real sure how he would take being the only horse in a pasture, having been a herd stallion all his life with a herd of young boys to boss around (even when it was just one). He has however, adjusted nicely and seems to be quite content to be with the goats or even on his own when they are out in the yard. Hopefully, we can get him back up to weight before the winter grasses stop growing. He has such a hard time in the winter when there is only hay to eat as he doesn't chew very well. We do make sure that he gets alfalfa chaff and that does help especially during the winter months because it is broken down into more manageable pieces and no tough stems. We don't know how much longer the old boy will be with us and are facing the fact that we may one day have to put him down. We have had him for 14 years, so that will be tough. He has been a royal pain in the neck too. He is willful, stubborn and proud. However, as far as stallions go he is also one of the most kind and gentle I have ever known. The young boys could always be turned out with him and he would fully take them under his wing and teach them the ways of being a horse. He never was ugly or vicious with any of the younger ones and even when some of them challenged him, he patiently explained that he was not ready to step down as herd boss. With the ladies he was always a gentleman and to meant no. Then there was the time we were going to move him to a new place and he decided he didn't like the trailer that we were going to use. For three days we tried to get him on that trailer and for three days he flat out refused. So my husband walked him 18 miles to the new barn. Both of them were totally exhausted by the time they arrived. The next time we needed to take him somewhere he hopped on the trailer. Everything with Thunder has been his way or no way, always. Like I said stubborn willful and proud. If he wanted to do what you asked (and yes you had better ask politely as there was no telling him)then he willingly did it. If he didn't want to and you insisted, then he would insist that you dismount immediately! So, for now we just make sure that his retirement continues to be easygoing. We don't look forward to the day that he leaves us. It is just kinda sad that the old man has had to step down from his perch as leader of the herd.


Kelle said...

It is sad that your old stud has to step down, isn't it?

I understand you're not looking forward to the day you'll need to make the decision to have him put down, we had to make this decision with our 18 yr old Jersey cow, the end of Sept. We'd only been blessed with her for 5 yrs but we all were very attached.

I love the part about the quick dismount! He sounds like a pistol. Glad he's doing okay with his new pasture and new friends. He I'm sure knows how blessed he is to have such loving owners.
Blessings from,
The Never Done Farm

Kat said...

I think it is always difficult when the older generation must yield their authority to the younger. Thank goodness for their wisdom that they leave us with. I think I read about your cow and I know that must have been hard. I don't know how blessed he feels, but I know we have been truly blessed to have known such a noble animal. Yep, he is a pistol! God bless.