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Creative Herd Management

Published: 3/11/2010
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By Maddy B. Gray

Funny how things work out.

Thanksgiving 2008, a pony named Peppermint Patty was brought to my client’s farm as a companion for his retired hunter mare, Cupcake.
Trouble was, Patty was trouble.
She liked to move her pasture buddy around too much. Cupcake is chronically lame, most certainly with navicular disease. She does not need to be moved around.
Navicular disease (or disorder or syndrome) is related to the deterioration of the navicular bone and sometimes surrounding soft tissue at the back of the horse’s hoof. It may be degenerative, like arthritis.
Patty was trouble for visitors, too. At a cute 13 hands, she looks like the perfect pony for grandchildren.
Far from it!
Patty is very sensitive and very, um, forward. A few unwitting youngsters were tossed before my client started looking for a solution.

Enter Trixie.
As some readers may know, Trixie is a 30-year old Shetland pony. She was rescued more than 25 years ago and owned by my neighbor until my neighbor moved into a nursing home a few years ago. That’s when I adopted her.
Trixie is a perfect little diplomat. And has no issues (aside from having no teeth which means she gets extra mushy forage and grain).
Sooo, we agreed to a swap. I was comfortable giving up Trixie because I visit the farm every week and would make sure she did well.
Last week, Trixie traveled to Harpswell and Pep came to Brunswick.
So far, so good.
The introductions went relatively smoothly. Check out this video of Pep's first day at the farm.

A few days later, Shea, Brooke, and Pep bask together in the spring sun!

All the mares seem content. Pep has had her status knocked down a few rungs, but I think she’ll get over it.
Trixie and Cupcake became immediate pals and they work their way through their pasture and through their days as if they were holding hands.

View Reader Comments:

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3/11/2010 arlene walker
That was great wish life could be that way for all.
3/11/2010 Becky
Great story!!!!
3/11/2010 Estelle
Great the video! :)
3/11/2010 Anne
Love it!

"No horseman or horsewoman has ever finished learning" - Mary Gordon-Watson