Country Gal by Vanita Blundell
Motherhood is something that is instinctive to most females whether human or in the animal kingdom. Even if a female does not physically give birth we have a mothering character. Before all of you guys start up with me, if you have been having problems with cows pairing up with a calf or two- there are exceptions to the rule- But for the most part the female species are nurturing by nature. Last fall I bought a couple of horses. I have enjoyed them and since I have been watching them from the window of the living room I have noticed that they are a little different than some of the others horses I have owned in the past. We keep our horses separate from the cattle since dad had had a bad experience with keeping horses with cattle- well, actually it was burros and they chased dad’s young heifers and he lost several calves as a result. So we did not keep horses with the cattle on a regular basis. But a month or so ago a newborn calf got in with my horses. I thought that I should get in the pen right away and get the baby out before they hurt the calf- but I started to watch the horses- What I first thought was aggressive behavior turned out to be a protective behavior. Both the mare and gelding started to lick and clean the calf then they kept the calf in between them and was a defensive with anything that got close to the calf. The calf seemed alright with all of the attention it was getting. When I went out to get the calf out of the horse pen I was not sure that I was going to get out of there with all of me intact. But I retrieved the calf with the help of Jeff and my nephew, Jason.
The horses are a good ‘watchdog’ for coyotes. They perk their ears, and get a little testy when they spot coyotes in the pasture, and they watch the coyotes until they are out of sight. I have wondered what they might do if they were loose and free. I think that I might know. Our barn has a door that goes into the corral where the horses are kept and the door does not go to the bottom of the barn doorway. In fact, there is two and half foot gap so small animal can come and go into the barn. A couple of days ago I went to feed the horses and I found the carcass of a young coyote at the entrance of the barn door that goes to the corral. Since I could not found any reason for this animal to have died at the door. I am thinking that the horses were just taking care of business. Just another thing that makes a person wonder what goes on when they are gone.