I would like to introduce you to Tucker (right) and Jack (left).
These are my neighbors. I actually have people neighbors but I rarely see them. These guys I see every day. They have a house just up the hill from me. I can see it from my front yard, front window, front porch etc. They are not the quietest neighbors but they do refrain from playing rap music at 2 AM so that's a good thing.
Initially I worried that we might have clashing lifestyles. They seemed aloof. They were morning types, me not so much. They liked to run, I only run if chased or if Starbucks is about to close.
I would also like to introduce you to my house mates. Because of prior bad deeds that shall go unmentioned their names have been changed, mostly to protect myself from litigation. "Big Dog" is the blond one and "Blaze" is the black one. This shot was taken as they came back from doing unspeakable things in unmentionable places.
With these two crews living in close quarters I knew eventually there would be a confrontation. It was inevitable. There was a lot of posing going on. A lot of swaggering and prancing about. Territory was marked and within 4 hours of arriving it was ON.
Big Dog decided that anything that big couldn't be trusted and Blaze figured anything with legs that long had to be a good runner. But the little scrappers underestimated the cunning of their new adversaries. Big Dog ran right up on their heels and began barking his fool head off. Then he nearly got his fool head kicked off. I am pretty sure I heard the horses snickering. Blaze didn't know what to make of the "really big dogs" and so she barked also. This new neighbor thing wasn't going so well and we hadn't even moved in yet.
After Big Dog got hoofed again (contact was made) something definitely had to be done. To be fair to the snarky horses they weren't actually trying to clobber the dogs. They were just setting some distance boundaries. Big Dog just took a little extra educatin'. I tried every Dog Whisperer trick I could find and some I just made up but nothing worked. They still barked and the snarky little horses actually goaded them on. The furry punks would wait to see the dogs and then begin charging at them. Big Dog always played right into their hands...hooves and Blaze was always up for a good bark and run.
One day it occurred to me that maybe I needed to establish the horses as part of the pack. I mean the dogs didn't try to eat the cats because they were part of the pack, right?
Hmm. So how to do that?
I had to lure them over to the fence line. I waved bright orange carrots, sprinkled fresh cut grass and eventually they came. Then I had to reach over the fence where they held their little snickering heads just out of petting range. This is right about the same time I found out that the fence was electric. Holy Cow! That will get your attention. Adjustments were made. Distance was measured...carefully. Soon I had them eating out of my hands. I pet the horses to rub their smell on and then pet the dogs to introduce them as approved members. Negotiations took some time.
Big Dog is still wary and keeps his distance after that last hoofing. Blaze now has long legged playmates to run with and I have a daily routine that includes feeding horses that I do not own or ride. Did I mention that I also do not have to muck out the stalls? Man, my life sucks. In the spring and summer they get fresh cut grass from the lawn. In late summer and fall we bring them apples from the orchards. Carrots fill in the winter months.
When we got our big pond going last year I wondered why I kept losing water so fast. Then I found this was going on! Nosy neighbors. Recently when I had failed to get carrots for their morning snack Jack decided to help himself to one of my daisy beds. He ate them and all the Lady Ferns down to the nub. I couldn't even look at it. Nubs! Nothing but nubs. Snarky horse.