The grass in the far back pasture, behind the dressage court, is getting tall. After their breakfast buckets of vitamins, we moved Flash and Mufasa up to the pasture for the day. We decided to try putting Jackson up there as well. The pasture is very large, dissected by a stream, with many oaks and more grass than the three of them could eat in a week. We watched the horses for an hour and they busily, and peacefully, got down to the serious business of grazing. And then we left for church.
We pulled into the driveway after lunch with the trunk full of groceries and wine. I could see Jackson standing with his head over the pasture gate. He did not look happy. He looked at me like "get me outta here."
We started unloading the car and Brett noticed our neighbor, Marv, had left us a message. Marv lives across from the back pasture. He said that Flash and Mufasa were running Jackson into the ground.
I changed out of my church clothes with lightening speed and headed out to the pasture.
Jackson saw me coming at met me at the gate. He was covered in sweat. His hind hoof was cocked in an uncomfortable way -- his protective trail boot was gone.
While I walked around the pasture looking for it, Jackson followed close behind. You could say that he was hiding behind me, in the way that small children do when in a strange environment.
The bullies watched us. They were sweaty too.
Flash came over and touched noses with Jackson. It didn't feel like an apology. It felt like "Don't you forget it and don't you come back."
I put Jackson's boot back on and walked him down to the barn where I curried the dry sweat and counted his wounds. Twelve bites. Most were superficial, but a few drew blood. I felt tears prick at my eyes. I promised Jackson that I would NEVER, never put him with Mufasa again. Jackson didn't seem to hold it against me; he was his usual affectionate self. Which made me feel worse.
When I put him back in the his pasture with the donkeys he stood, exhausted, with his head low. Tuffy and Finessa had called to Jackson when we passed by them on the way to the barn. Surprisingly, Tuffy took up a position behind Jackson in solidarity and kinship. Maybe the three of them have bonded more than I thought.