Red's ears are, apparently, on the mend. He's on an antibiotic and Bute and feeling good. Too good.
Last night I let him out with the herd and he challenged Shadow, the leader. He acted like a three year old stallion in the wild who was stealing mares. He reared up, turned and kicked, screamed at him--lunged to bite.
They were back and forth quite a bit. At one point Shadow even fell backwards. We were stunned and didn't know what to do. These two geldings have NEVER fought. Red has never challenged him. He's always been happy at #2. Not last night.
The drama took place over our whole back acreage. Red was running, yes running, and Shadow was running, too. Cowboy and Cia stood away, not knowing which side to take. But Red's new vigor emboldened his mare-wife, Cowgirl, and their adopted baby, Beautiful Girl. Cowgirl started to lunge at Shadow, too. He'd try to get control and run them to the corner, and Red would look like he was giving in, but then the two mares would steal their way back to him and provoke Shadow to attack Red again...and Red would fight back.
To end it, Beautiful Girl got in between the geldings and took a vicious kick at Shadow, butt to butt. I was really surprised at Beautiful Girl's brazenness taking on the herd leader like that. She is nothing if not loyal.
Shadow was scared and ran into an open stall and faced off from a more safe space. I took the opportunity to lock him in and then gathered the rest of the crazy herd and locked them in, too.
Red was snorting, prancing and pawing.
We had to leave town today, so I left them in their stalls. I want to be home when they're released again so that I can monitor it. If the civil war continues, someone could really get hurt. I'm hoping Red remembers he's OLD and takes his rightful place as second in command. The mares will ALWAYS gravitate to him, but Shadow just needs to know he's in control when the time comes. And, honestly, Shadow should be in control. The herd works best that way.
I found out, too, that the black flies we have are Buffalo Gnats. They're still gathering around the stalls at dawn and dusk. All of the horses have masks and ears, but it's a battle. Apparently, because of Spokane's wet spring, they've been exceptionally bad this year. Some other horse people have had them much, much worse than I do.