(Dys)Functional Dynamics




I am sure you've all heard the expression 'elephant in the living room' that describes an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed.  It is often used when referring to dysfunctional family interactions.  I had the equine variety play out in my pasture a couple days ago but instead of a pink elephant my horses had a round bale dumped as if out of the sky into their pasture.

Now in my mind, I was pleased I was able to make these arrangements because the temps had really dropped, the ground was nice and firm and the horses need lots of hay to keep warm in this weather.  So what better way then to let them eat to their little heart's content without me breaking my back hauling hay around?  Well, it was a good idea but from the horses perspective, it might as well have been an alien's spaceship.  Or a pink elephant.

My neighbor delivered the round bale while my horses were in the barn.  I turned them out on my way to my art studio.  I waited to see how they would respond to this wonderful surprise I gave them.  I was so excited to see their happy little faces when they dug into the big treat I got special for them!  Instead of the satisfaction a horse owner feels when they know their animals are content and happy, I got to witness (dys)functional equine herd dynamics at work.  Not unlike a reality tv show only without the wild parties, heavy drinking, and sex.

What I witnessed was Drama Queen and the He- Man, macho guy running circles around the big strange thing.  The two of them demonstrated a whole lot of nostrils flaring, muscles flexing, tails flying, huffing and puffy demanding someone DO SOMETHING!!!  I am having a HISSY FIT HERE (and by the way don't I look fabulous when I prance like this??? Can everyone see me??)  Okay, I'll run a few more circles so ~everyone~ can~ look~ at~~~~MMMEEEEE!!!  Macho Man followed along-  so as not to lose sight of Drama Queen.  Even though he's the only gelding and wouldn't quite know what to do with drama queen some remnant of something in his brain was telling him not to lose her.  ~~~MUST STAY CLOSE to this much female hysterics because she will at some point collapse in a heap and I can act big and strong then.

None of this impressed irritable Big Momma one bit who just stood off to the side, tsk, tsk-ing, shaking her head and glaring at the spectacle drama queen and macho man were making.  I watched as timid Miss Worry-Wart scampered to big momma's side to hide her face from all the commotion.  Rather than protection, Big Momma told worry-wart that she was getting on her last nerve (Big Momma, after all, was hungry but was pretending not to see the pink elephant- I mean round bale) and hiked her hind foot as a signal that she'd like to take her aggravation out on HER!  So Miss Worry Wart promptly turned into Sulker and slinked off to stew by herself.   She was hungry too but was not going to walk over to that scary thing all by her little self!!

So instead of the sight of happy horses (that first 30-40 minutes) I got to write this blog entry instead.  Horses are so entertaining.

Just so you know they did eventually make peace with the round bale without intervention.
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Happy Trails,
Sue Steiner
equine and animal artist and caretaker of horses!
http://www.horseartonline.com/
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