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Picasso Moon has been laying low over the winter.  He was 3 years old when I got him, so 2010 will be his 4th year.  I decided to give him some space to grow and learn what it means to be a horse. Fitting in with other horses has caused Picasso some problems in the past.  The foster home where he was living when I first met him wanted to adopt him, but he could not get along with the other horses there and was getting beat up regularly.  Understanding space and respecting the space of others has been his quandary both with his equine companions and with humans.  Coming from a rescue background as Picasso did, it is doubtful that he was allowed to interact with other horses naturally.  When he first arrived here, he got himself into some conflicts when he would try to groom another horse and bite too hard. Despite the consequences, he didn’t seem to modify his behavior.

Initially I paired him with Chansyk, and older mare who I knew would correct his behavior, but not hurt him.  She had been a mom a few times in her life, so I thought she would be a safe bet.  And she was.  When Sage was still part of the herd, I put Picasso Moon into the pasture with Chansyk, Sage, and Beau.  I thought it would be a nice safe balance of energy.  Sage was taking care of Beau at that time and Chansyk was not paired up with anyone.  The  mares allowed Beau and Picasso to meet under their suppervision.

Beau wasn’t too thrilled with the new arrangement, but he spent most of his time with Sage, so it didn’t matter too much.

Things changed for the pasture mate dynamics when Sage passed away in Oct.  The weather was getting cold and wet and the horses tended to huddle around their shelters.  Picasso was not welcome once Chanysk took charge of caring for Beau.  She saawPicasso as a threat to her role as the protector of Beau.

Picasso’s behavior was not improving.  He was not getting the horse interaction he needed.  Picasso was getting hard to handle in hand on the ground while he was being lead to and from his pasture.  One day he was so difficult to handle that I was ready to send him to auction myself.  At that point I decided to turn  him over to a “higher authority”… and I don’t mean God.  I put him in the pasture with Azure, Jaspar, and Robin and decided to let them determine his fate.  He need some behavior modification.  Picasso Moon had been on a few trail rides with Azure and Robin and had proven himself trust worthy in those situations.  Picasso likes to lead and is very sound minded, rarely spooks at anything, and can lead them safely around trail obstacles.  They had trailered together peacefully and I hoped that would set the foundation for a positive pasture situation.

Picasso Moon took on his new situation with gusto.  He was quick to let the others see he was a force…

Jaspar seemed under impressed by Picasso’s dramatics. Jaspar is not one to waste a lot of energy.  He knows the ways of the wild horse and keeps his energy reserved in case he has to head for the hills quickly. Jaspar is interesting as the group leader.  He is not mean or controlling by force.  Usually, all he needs to do is give a horse a “look” and they get the message.  Picasso is not used to such body language. But he will learn.

When Azure and Robin arrived, Picasso is quick to greet them.

But Azure is tall and not intimidated by the greeting.

I think Azure recognizes a kindred spirit in Picasso Moon. When I first got Azure he was much the same way.  He too was out of a rescue situation and had little training. He didn’t know much about being a horse among horses either.  Topaz, Sage, and Jaspar had to teach him.  So things are coming full circle.

Picasso is getting to learn about bantering among horses and learning to feel safe and respected among peers.  He know where his place is now and has found a real home.  A place where his spirit is matched.

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