|For the four years we’ve had Saorsa, she’s been the only large horse we’ve had. As horses are herd animals, this hadn’t really been the plan. Saoradh had seemed content to be alone and a bit afraid of the Minis when they got loose. He’d been a bused. But Saorsa needs companionship, she can see the Minis but due to their age and her size and attitude, we didn’t dare let the mingle. The goats, however, despite her acting like she’d kill them at first, befriended her, Elína more than our much lamented Randvér. She’ll let Elína eat with her, but if she gets cranky both goats have been spry enough to get out of her way and small enough to slip in and out of enclosures. But she knows she’s the boss. She needs to learn better herd manners.
So we were hoping to get a rather large horse, one that would be a good “husband-horse” for Aaron and one big enough to keep her in line. But instead during the summer of 2011 we were offered by Saorsa’s trainer a tiny Morgan cross mare who was returned to her and needs a home. Misty is in her late teens and has apparently spent the past 3 years as a sort of petting zoo animal, being brushed by children and not ridden. She had belonged to the trainer who had asked that she be returned if they no longer wanted her; however, she’s not in a position to keep her.
Misty is gentle and well behaved, but not particularly friendly; which she apparently very much was before. We think that she’s having a form of burn out that is not uncommon in horses who are in situations such as she seems to have been in. Horses who have no real, steady and positive interaction with people who are “hers.” And probably no horses either, we think she probably had no other horses she was able to directly interact with. She is afraid to make attachments. We’ll work on this, she’s coming to her forever home and eventually she’ll realize this.
She’s also a bit on the pokey side, which again seems to be new. It’s very un-Morgan-like of her and, again, probably will mostly be resolved when she learns she wants to interact with us. We rode her a couple of times while she was still at our trainers. This was actually Aaron’s first time on a horse.
She arrived here on October 15, 2011, we kept the girls separated at first, with an area between their pastures so they could see each other. About every day or every other day for a week, we would close the gap a bit, letting Saorsa a bit further into “No Mare’s Land.” A week after she arrived, we had them with a tiny V of fence between, then small end close enough for them to touch noses.
We were a bit concerned due to to the size difference and Saorsa’s general bad attitude. This latter, however, we realized was probably largely due to have having another horse to teach her better. But we still wanted to make sure Misty had an advantage so Cory, the trainer we got her from and who has been working with Saorsa, spent a couple of sessions driving Saorsa with Misty. And Saorsa got the message!
When the morning after the second time, we opened it up and Saorsa went in. She pretty much kept her distance, a tiny squeal from Misty would send her away. Misty started out as Boss Mare and for the first few days Saorsa didn’t get too close. A few days later, they seemed to be a bit cozier, however.
Misty’s first heat with Saorsa changed the dynamics, for she’s not acting like an in heat mare who is annoyed by another mare. She’s acting like she’s in love. We’ve long joked that some of Saorsa’s behavior is rather, well, butch, something everyone notes is not surprising for my mare. But perhaps there’s something to it. Misty has been following her around, totally love sick. Her severe food aggression has been totally thwarted, she’ll let Saorsa eat out of her own dish.
At this point she just seems to be a changed horse, much livelier and brighter than she was. Love heals.
We’ll see how the dynamic changes again when her heat ends. And we need to see how herd bound they’re going to be at different times of her cycle and how we need to deal with that so we can work with them. Butt it’s clear that they’re a happy pair, that this has been good for them.
We had adopted Misty as a riding horse, literally a “husband horse” for Aaron, as well as a companion for Saorsa. We did both ride her for awhile, as well as our trainer riding her a couple of times while I road Saorsa, but she did make her dislike of riding obvious. So we opted to not ride her often. It wasn’t surprising as she started to show some discomfort in one of her hips. She also had bad feet, with no heels although our farrier was not sure if this was something she was born with or the result of some very bad trims. She started to show signs of Insulin Resistance and although we tried to keep her from too much grass did founder…with a grazing muzzle. This all added up to an official retirement as a “companion” and pet.
She did love to be snuggled….her response to being asked to more if you were on the ground was to try to convince you that what you really wanted was a hug. No sense of personal space at all. It didn’t matter if you were trying to exercise her or trying to clean the paddock or run in, she’d want to snuggle. If you got out the flyspray then not so much. But other than that.
She was sweet and gentle, but the absolute Boss Mare with Saorsa and Saorsa loved her for it. We believe Saorsa even gave up her much loved swims because of Misty’s disapproval.
Despite attempts to keep her from grazing, Misty had a couple of bouts with laminitis after escaping and getting onto grass. Last winter she ended up having “winter laminitis” which was likely worsened by our unreliable farrier. We finally go her passed it, about the same time we lost Gráinne. She started roaming around, we were looking forward to spending fun time with her as spring and summer came, as we had felt we had not given the horses enough time the previous year due to our focus on getting the dogs’ vet care. I had hoped we’d get a “tract paddock” fixed up for her. But plans ….well….
The end of March Misty colicked. She went down, we got her up. We walked her, we spent the night looking after her. She passed a little manure, we hoped it had just been impaction and it was working through. She seemed to be getting better. Then she got much worse and it was clear it was torsion. We could not even consider trying to get a trailer and get her to the nearest hospital, it really is just too far away and she would have undoubtedly died on the way….alone and even more terrified than she was at home. We lost her on March 30, 2017.
We had not expected to lose her so soon and like this. Saorsa is devastated. Again, words cannot express it. I miss my Misty hugs.