Shorty falls Short

Traveling down the rocky roads to the Pine Nut horses, I never know exactly what I’ll get. The decision on where I go depends on the roads, so when I saw my usual haunt was a bit too overgrown for comfort, I decided to go a way I hadn’t been in a while.
It took me down to a valley that was surprisingly green. I stopped when I saw horses, and decided the best way to safely hike through the tall vegetation. So I wouldn’t risk startling a rattlesnake, I walked up a hill with less vegetation.
The closer I got I was able to recognize Mystique’s band. There was also another band I recognized as Blondie’s. As I walked a little further to try to see the horses better, I also realized Shorty’s band was nearby.

Shorty and mares

Shorty stays close to his mares.

It’s starting to get late enough in spring that mares are more consistently in heat, and Shorty was persistently wooing a black mare. Arching her neck slightly, like a more feminine version of a band stallion, she walked away from him.
Shorty was persistent, even trying to mount her, so she moved faster. He managed to keep up with her while staying on her back, but couldn’t quite get close enough to copulate.

Shorty and mare

Unfortunately for Shorty, she wouldn’t stop moving.

I was torn between being impressed with his balance, amused, and irritated on the mare’s behalf. Some of the other horses in the band were starting to notice, including one of his sons. As the son approached, Shorty was forced to give up and respond to him.
As his son put himself between Shorty and the mare, I was surprised Shorty didn’t confront him. The son nibbled the mare’s side, but it didn’t seem opportunistic to me. Rather than court the mare himself, it seemed like he was comforting her. Perhaps thinking safety in numbers, she moved closer to the rest of the mares.

Shorty and son

Shorty lets his son get between him and the mare.

A few moments later, a different mare was being courted by a Shorty son. Although she was not as aggressive she also shifted her weight and moved so he was unsuccessful. When Shorty realized what was going on, he pinned his ears. The two horses separated, but she did not seem happy to see Shorty either.
I got distracted by some flowers, and when I turned back, a similar scene was unfolding. This time, the son was trying to mount a mare from the side. He continued to sweat talk her, but it wasn’t surprising she was unimpressed.
As I spend more time with the Pine Nut Ponies, the more endearing I find them. For such a large band, you’d think at least one of his mares would be interested in him, but this is the first time I’ve seen him even attempt to breed them. I’m not sure exactly how old Shorty is, but apparently he’s currently the oldest band stallion. I anticipate he’s going to be transitioning to life as a bachelor soon, but hopefully not for a few more years. The mares still seem to be bonded with him, but not currently in the way he’d like.

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