Reno and Twister are now being turned out with Bernice and Al. Bernice is something of an obsessive mama mare, so it’s been very stressful for her. She is spending all her time trying to control Al’s desire to be friends with Reno. Al is NOT a co-operative child (I call him the Demon Spawn – he makes Reno look like an angel). And Reno is completely fascinated with Al. He slips sideways, sort of crab-like towards Al, all the while trying to look innocent and not attract Bernice’s attention. Once she notices him, she tries to get in between them and herd Al away, while making faces at Reno, who makes baby faces (opening his mouth and sort of flapping it at her – it’s a submissive baby gesture.. as in “please don’t kill me, I’m just a cute little baby!”) but only moves a few steps away before starting the sneak approach again. So obviously Bernice is failing to intimidate Reno as much as she’d like.
Photos by sky king’s girl
And speaking of not intimidating… Twister has shown some remarkable grit in dealing with Bernice’s craziness. He is very obsessive about food (the boss has dubbed him “that gluttonous little bastard”), so he grazes obliviously in the midst of Bernice’s posturing. She tried very hard to intimidate him in the beginning, but Twister just continued to eat and ignored her pinned ears and threatening hind end. Just carried on chewing. Eventually though, he got tired of it all and marched over to Bernice and Al in the corner of the paddock. She spun around, trying to protect her kid, and Twister just stood and stared her down “Listen lady… I have no interest in your kid. I want to eat my grass. How about you leave me alone, and I’ll leave YOU alone?” Bernice finally just stopped threatening, and Twister ambled away to his patch of grass, satisfied that his point had been made. A day or two later, he was over by the gate, having a drink of water. Linda was standing there watching. Bernice was grazing some distance away, and Al decided to run over to Twister. She panicked and tore after him at top speed, just barely intercepting him at the very last moment. Linda, of course, was very concerned about the little black (borrowed!) horse with the freight train bearing down upon him. However, Twister, unaware of WHY Bernice was charging at him like an enraged bull, had reached his breaking point. He screamed like a stallion, pinned his ears flat, and double barrelled Bernice right in the rib cage. Loud enough that Linda could hear it echo. Then he double barrelled her again, just to make sure she got the point… “All I have is ONE simple rule Lady!!!” Linda saw it close up, but still couldn’t believe her eyes. She has stopped worrying about Twister at all now. He can definitely hold his own and then some. Reno saw all the excitement, and came right over to investigate. Then he saw Linda with the bottles, and squeezed right in between him and the gate to have his snack. Twister didn’t turn a hair. Just finished having his drink of water.
Since then, Reno has discovered that there is a safe zone near Twister. If Bernice chases him, he can scamper back to Twister and Bernice will NOT follow into range of Twister. It’s quite funny really. Twister is little (14.3hh), and has always been quite amiable and non-confrontational with other horses. And Bernice is perhaps 16.2? She comes from an entire family of bossy dominant sisters, and Bernice is quite a strong minded mare. Hard to believe Twister faced her down successfully.