Ridge, who has previously liked and tolerated Argus (and has been his #1 turnout buddy), decided that he would protect Odie The Mule from the intruder, Argus. Ridge can be very bossy with Argus, which is good. He is teaching him The Rules.
Odie, who loves everyone equally and just wants to have fun, was 100% focused on important things like rolling and playing and sniffing. He and Argus have been turned out together in the arena many times. Argus likes Odie because he is playful and not too bossy.
Argus was confused. Why was his friend keeping him away from the mule? Weren't they impressed by his lucky bloody shoulder??
What followed was a safe and positive lesson in herd behavior, taught by Professor Ridge.
Experiences like this help prepare Argus for springtime, when he will join the geldings for turnout in the pasture. Although he is 16 years old, it is believed that he has never experienced living in a group. Despite this, he has surprisingly good social skills and reads the body language of other horses well.
"Stay away! This is MY mule!" He is keeping himself between Argus and Odie,
much the way a stallion (or a gelding) would protect a mare.
Argus studies the situation for a while. Odie, as ususual, is rolling,
oblivious to the drama unfolding.
Argus decides to approach. Ridge communicates clearly with teeth flashing: STAY AWAY.
Argus experiments, running rather playfully toward Ridge. He seems to be trying to figure out how to join this group. I was impressed by how the three horses worked this all out.
I was not worried about any of them getting hurt,
although I stood with halters ready just in case.
Argus gets too close again. Odie rolls. He is clearly frightened and on high alert... ;)
Ridge continues to keep himself between Odie and Argus,
although Argus keeps trying to move closer.
Finally, an agreement of sorts is reached. Ridge moves to the other side of Odie, allowing Argus to be near him. He does this off and on for the rest of the time they are turned out together, each time allowing Argus to move closer to Odie.