Ender’s Game

I thought my last topic would lend itself to talking a bit more about Heaven’s temporary 2012 buddy, Ender. And yes, I may have named Ender with the hope of one day having an excuse to write a blog post titled ‘Ender’s Game’.  I apologize for nothing.

Ender lives in interesting times.  Regrettably, that is very much a curse.  In 2010 and 2011, Ender was a thorn in the side of a powerful bay band stallion.  It was hard to say whether Ender would be successful.  He had the determination, but he also took some pretty bad licks.

01

Ender

Ender’s chances at the mare ended the same way every 2011 story in White Mountain ended.  The band stallion and all but one of his mares were rounded up and removed.  All Ender’s time and effort was for nothing.  He proceeded to spend 2012 relaxing with the herd’s most beloved gimp, Heaven.

Case in Point: July

It was an innocuous morning, as far as such things go.  Ender met up with Gladiator with little excitement.  The pair then joined up with two other bachelors to form a merry group.  Ender immediately went after the younger stallion Reimann.  Ender then went on to have a go with Gladiator & Levi.

02

Ender & Gladiator

Ender & Reimann

Ender & Reimann

Not all horses look elegant when rearing.

Rearing is not always particularly elegant

05

Levi’s too old for all that nonsense and tomfoolery

Ender is, after all, a playful fellow.

09

10

Okay, maybe Levi isn’t too old for shenanigans, but this isn’t his story

The merry quartet moved off and so did Livi and I.  (Livi’s awesome and you should check out her blog).  Not longer after, we heard quite the commotion atop the hill.  Golly gee!  Walking up, we found the lovely bay roan mare Aurora and her son at the heart of it.  This story will lead nicely into her story, so you’ll have to wait for that.  For now, just know that she gets around (if you know what I mean and I think you do).  On this particular trip, she was with Flax.  Flax being the handsome, handsome sorrel with the flaxen mane.  Flax has had a pretty rough year, and has the scars to prove it.

Left to Right: Sparky, Flax, Aurora

Left to Right: Sparky, Flax, Aurora

Her previous stallion, Pippen, was dogging closely behind.  No one was particularly happy with this development.  Pippen wanted Aurora back.  Aurora wanted to be an independent, single lady.  Flax wanted Aurora to quit being so crabby and stop kicking him, already.  Aurora’s poor yearling colt, Sparky, just wants to quit being ignored and have his existence acknowledged in this blog.

 And thus the melee begins.

Don’t worry overly much about the name dropping, friends.  Just go with the flow.  And if you really want to know more about the individual horses involved, you can check them out here.

This initial excitement drew the attention of Orion, who is easily the most powerful band stallion in the southern portion of White Mountain.  Orion attracted Shorty.  Shorty in turn inadvertently led Ender & Gladiator to the scene.

Pippen. This photo is actually from October. I use it as a reference

Pippen. This photo is actually from October. I use it as a reference

Orion. Doesn't Aurora just look thrilled at the new interloper?

Orion. Doesn’t Aurora just look thrilled at the new interloper?

Shorty

Shorty

15

Gladiator trotted right past Livi & I as he headed over. Typical Gladiator.

It was peaceful for a few moments.  Battle lines were drawn while each stallion assessed their position and what threats the other posed.  Each stallion seemed to think they were the big man in the situation and would have no trouble knocking off Flax in a bid for Aurora’s “affections”.  Especially Shorty.  There are few things more intimidating than a spunky half-ton animal with little dog syndrome.

Shorty started it off proper.  Flax had no trouble getting Shorty to veer away, but in the process nearly gave Pippen the opening he needed.  In the process of getting Aurora back from Pippen, Flax and co. veered a little too close to Orion’s band.  Aurora saw this as the perfect opportunity to tell Flax how she really felt.

16

Pippen tries to take advantage of the opening by getting between Aurora & Flax and offering challenge

Pippen tries to take advantage of the opening by getting between Aurora & Flax and offering challenge

Aurora makes a beeline for Orion's band

Aurora makes a beeline for Orion’s band with Flax on her heels

Aurora makes her feelings about Flax known

Orion warns Flax away

By this time, Ender has been in the mix on the fringes, fighting with Shorty and the other “fringe” bachelors.  Ender figured that Aurora would surely like Ender more than Flax, and took a more active role as Aurora made a break for it.  Flax stopped and took the time to tell Ender off properly, while Gladiator was distracted by Shorty.

Ender moves towards the beleaguered band while Aurora reminds Flax that she's not interested.  Poor Flax can't catch a break - he's getting it from all sides!

Ender moves towards the beleaguered band while Aurora tells Flax how she really feels. Poor Flax can’t catch a break – he’s getting it from all sides!

23

30

Feeling smug

Gladiator

Gladiator

Pippen was not conned into starting anything with Ender.  Pippen was the epitome of focus through the entire scene, refusing to be distracted from his singular goal of Aurora.  Ender let that slide and went back towards Flax.  That set him up nicely to try to take a pot shot at Orion, who galloped up to reconsider the fray.

32

Aurora is so done with everything by this point

Orion

Orion

Orion's tailset cracks me up every time

Orion’s tailset cracks me up every time

Is your head spinning yet?  I suspect Ender’s head was spinning as well.  At this point, Ender knew he was out of the running and did not have a serious chance of stealing Aurora away.  There were too many other stallions, several of whom were more powerful and experienced than he was.  But rather than bowing out gracefully, Ender saw this as an opportunity to mess up life for all of the other stallions.  It’s one of his more charming traits, really.

Since Ender had decided he was going after anything male, he turned on Gladiator.  Gladiator was not amused.  Before things could get really heated, the band stallion Fuego arrived.  This quite possibly saved a friendship, since Ender has continued his on-again off-again hang out time with Gladiator into the winter.  While Ender goofed around with Fuego, Gladiator warned the band stallion Orion away.

What the heck, bro?

What the heck, bro?

Ooh! Who's that in the distance?

Ooh! Who’s that in the distance?

It's Fuego!

It’s Fuego!

Fuego got a little confused as to which band stallion he was supposed to be going after, and had a minor disagreement with Orion as a result

Fuego got a little confused as to which band stallion he was supposed to be going after, and had a minor disagreement with Orion as a result

Gladiator is wiser than Ender when it comes to such matters.  While Gladiator had been an active participant from the beginning, he held himself back, letting the younger bachelors turn on each other while he saved his energy.  It did not ultimately pay off, it made more sense than the rest of the nuts who didn’t seem to have a strategy at all.

36

Okay, I lied.  Gladiator may have been “biding his time”, but boy did he get into it with the others towards the end.

42

Gladiator goes after Orion…

Going after Ender

Going after Ender…

Ender's not gonna take it

Ender’s not gonna take it

Wait, isn't this supposed to be about Ender?

Wait, isn’t this supposed to be about Ender?

46

Okay, seriously, Shorty. If you want a part in this story you need to quit randomly showing up from out of nowhere and pretending you've been around the whole time.

Okay, seriously, Shorty. If you want a part in this story you need to quit randomly showing up from out of nowhere and pretending you’ve been around the whole time.

Taking potshots at Ender is not helping your case, Shorty

Taking potshots at Ender is not helping your case, Shorty

Oh yeah, and at some point Eight (Fuego’s satellite) showed up to add his opinion to the mix.

Man is he late to the party

Man is he late to the party

Silly me. Eight is never late, nor is he early. He arrived exactly when he meant to.

Silly me. Eight is never late, nor is he early. He arrived exactly when he meant to.

54

I think I’ve used the previous reference in another blog post too. Darn it!

As the dust settled, seven stallions walked away empty handed.  The winner?  Flax.  Yep.  All that drama for nothing.   Flax managed to hold on to his less than amorous lady.  If anything, that was the easy part.  Getting Aurora to willingly move away from the chaos was… considerably more challenging.  Mares.

Flax two months later

Flax two months later

Aurora is still with him

Aurora is still with him

Ender is still hanging out with Gladiator. Clearly, Ender has really mellowed out for the winter season

Ender is still hanging out with Gladiator. Clearly, Ender has really mellowed out for the winter months

The great part is that Ender wasn’t even done yet.  Later that day, Livi & I stumbled across Ender again.  He and Gladiator ran into two new bachelor stallions for a brief spout of fun and play.  Photos of that must be sadly limited since the light was bad and Jebediah has a medical problem that makes for unfortunate photos.

Ender got a little scraped up, but nothing too serious

Ender got a little scraped up, but nothing too serious

This is the part where I should probably have a moral.  Or maybe some insight about Ender.  So  here’s what I’ve come up with: Ender is fun.  No really.  That boy knows how to bring the party.

Heck, maybe that is something we could all learn from Ender.  Sometimes you just gotta jump into the fray and enjoy yourself.  Even if it hurts a little and you get knocked around a bit, you’ll still come out on the other side seeing the world a little more clearly.  Because hey, you tried, and even if you failed you came out of it with a heck of a story to tell.

We live in a society that encourages us to find what we really want and to go for it – do whatever it takes to attain that goal.  Sometimes you find it’s not worth stepping on everyone else to reach that goal. And sometimes that goal just isn’t attainable.  No matter how much blood, sweat, and tears you put in, it isn’t going to happen.  Ender didn’t really stand a chance at convincing Aurora to join him over all the other interested stallions.  At some point, even Ender clued into that.

So how did Ender handle that? He kept the chaos going.  You could see the difference when watching in real time.  One moment Ender was serious, and the next he was showboating around for the heck of it.  Once Ender started acting like a goofy four year old, the other horses joined in.  Even the older fellows like Gladiator and Eight let loose for a while.  It’s a little hard to be angry or mopey about losing the severely cantankerous love of your life when you’re playing around with your bros.

I’m considering it a New Years Resolution for the next time life cuts me down.  The next time I fail epically at something that really mattered to me, I am going to respond by saying to heck with it and creating a little lighthearted chaos of my own.  It sure beats the other options.  And hey, who doesn’t love a good free for all now and again?

“It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than to be absolutely boring.” ~Marilyn Monroe

8 thoughts on “Ender’s Game

  1. Prairie girl says:

    Talk about being somewhere at the right time!
    Man alive, those images are out of this world amazing. What clarity!
    Did you get a new camera, Rachel?
    This story is a joy to read and as always you had me laughing out loud hysterically.
    I just love how dusty and muddy those horses were!
    Flax is a beauty. I think I have a big glossy photo of him that I bought through your site. That shiny flaxen mane is one of a kind.
    Aurora is completely amusing.
    Thanks ever so much for writing and taking us on your adventure.
    HNY to you and your mustangs and your Dad.

    • It was lucky for sure! And yes, Flax is such a beautiful horse. He has a gentle nature about him , not that you’d know it from this incident!

      It’s the same camera as always. The light was terrible towards the end though, and a number of the photos had this hazy quality to them which necessitated a lot more photoshop editing than I typically do. So the clarity is a combination of photoshop and my slow learning curve towards being a better photographer. But mostly photoshop. 😉

  2. Puller Lanigan says:

    Love the moral and love the story! Great photos! Thank you for sharing Ender’s story with us.

  3. I can never decide if I should feel worse for Flax or Aurora.

  4. […] Flax had to fight off hoards of bachelors all interested in “his” new mare (more on that story here).  Why would Aurora put her flavor of the month through such paces? It was not out of any great […]

  5. […] not end in his favor, though you could argue a summer of love is better than nothing. (See here and here for more info on said escapades if you missed them the first time […]

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