https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/vie ickenspeak I've decided to keep my stories in a rolling file on this page, editing and upgrading all the time. This is a follow-up to the recent rooster/pheasant fight. The link has a pic, which I don't think I'll include in this first draft: Summer Pasture April 25, 2008 After the battle with Bluster the pheasant, Snowflake kept his distance. The rooster continued to approach the property to woo the red barn, but he danced for it behind the cattle fencing in an open space where Bluster could not stalk him. His owner, Murray, gave him his usual freedom despite the minor wounds and I promised to let the elder-gelding out of his winter pasture so he could guard Snowflake. Sheriff has always liked white birds and black cats for reasons unclear to me, since I rescued him when he was twelve. The horse was to have an encounter with Bluster before leaving his winter quarters, a 100x 80 ft paddock with cattle fencing that kept him near the open barn all winter and allowed him to socialize the cats and to gain shelter, which he seldom did, but choices matter. In that paddock he could run and roll, prove that his cutting horse instincts are hard-wired and that he is master of all he surveys. I know he is lonely without the mare, but after turning 37 on April 11, he has proved he has a little more vigor than I expected. David and I had decided that the ground was dry enough to open the large spread of land the gelding loves, but we needed to mend some rails and tighten up some posts that were leaning after snowplow season. While we were doing this, Bluster came up through the field and began to cross the small paddock on his way to the wild bird feeders. He does this on a schedule to which you could set your watch, but Sheriff, who seems to believe he is responsible for the feral cats and for Snowflake, threatened the pheasant with a crooked neck and exposed incisors. The old boy doesn't have many molars left, but he showed what 'long of tooth' real means and broke into a trot with the teeth snapping at Bluster until the pheasant realized that puffing and gleaming and engorging one's comb would not quite do. We watched chuckling until Sheriff nearly snapped a tail feather as Bluster turned, broke into a velociraptor run, and went to wing with a high-pitched Rackkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! I believe that the old horse would nave nailed him if the fence had not been in the way. Incredulous, the iridescent bully sailed downhill to the shelter of the forest corridor, embarrassed perhaps, or furious to be exposed to his harem retreating. The moment was at land for Sheriff, we opened the gate to his summer pasture, giving him full access to the pheasant as Snowflake watched from the perimeter. I swear he was cackling even if he is a rooster. Sheriff galloped up the rise past the entry chute, spun to the left in true cutting-horse fashion and chased the bully into the woods. The he stood, huffing and puffing, as though he were still six and not yet gelded. I always thought they must have missed a bit of testicle when they did him, because when he goes stud, he is serious about his enemies. Yet the same beast is gentle with little girls and adults alike and allows kittens to drape his shoulder as night like a living stole. Then, standing in the first petals of clover he reared slightly, then bucked and spun on his way to Snowflake, who evidently understands that Sheriff will guard him, though he was not so foolish as to get under the hooves of a spring-infused quarter horse. Sheriff was born black with a white star and gradually turned white over the years. When I found him, in bad circumstances, he was in-between, a blue roan. To this day his skin is a bluish black that shines under the white overcoat. I did not expect to have him this long, we lost our younger horse, a mare, last fall. He astonishes me, he's a tough old nut and loads of fun still. Oh he has a wobble in his left hip and he's stiff when the farrier trims his hooves which are textbook black and as pliable as latex. His muzzle is sweet to scent and he nickers like a lover. A long time ago our vet asked if he could have the feet when Sheriff dies. He's waited a long time and I can't imagine disfiguring a creature of such beauty. No, not yet, summer is coming and he has sweet clover to masticate and spit out because he can't crush it properly any more. But he sucks on it and it stains the corner of his mouth with chlorophyll. Not yet. Baby has summer pasture to roam.