A month ago, we moved from the city to a farm. The owner had just recently bought horses. There are two camps: one with two well-trained, docile horses (stallions), and the other camp with a mare, a week-old foal and a stallion named Storm, who is constantly charging at the bordering fence and is feared by all.
Now, my four-year-old child has taken a liking to Storm, and he had taken to her. When she stands by the fence and calls, he would come over and she would pat, feed, hug and kiss him. He would nuzzle her and smell her hair and put his head on her chest…it was the sweetest thing. But that turned to terror when he kicked and trampled her. I thought my child was deadfortunately, she just had a bruised arm.
I need to understand why. She was in the camp as she had been before. Could it be that she was too close to the border fence and he was jealous? Is this possible? He comes only to her! Surely he could know that she is small and helpless? Or is this expecting too much? Was he trying to establish dominance? I don't know much about horses, but I fear that the so-called docile horses will do the same.
Later in the afternoon, against my wishes, the older kids went walking in the camp and Storm charged at them, but I managed to call him off. He seemed very tense and his back muscles were twitching.
I also have to mention that after the incident with my daughter, Storm fled; we called him, but he would not come. Is this stubbornness?
The following day he came around the side where he has a clear view of the front door and was neighing. My brave daughter, though injured, went out to him. She did not feed him, but patted him and he cocked his head low a few times. For the safety of my children, please help me understand.
Mari, I unfortunately cannot guess the exact motivation or answer the “why” of Storm’s behavior. I can tell you that stallion behavior can be quite variable, especially when a mare is nearby. It is possible that the mare was in season, and Storm was simply aroused and focused on the mare as opposed to your daughter.
Anyone who interacts with horses should learn to read some basic equine communication so that they can better predict when danger is likely. Your four-year-old child should always be on the other side of a fence in relation to the horse when she is out alone with them. It is simply unsafe to do otherwise.