Yesterday it rained all day off and on, and they were confined in the barn and south small paddock. Mac spent more time in Illusion's stall than usual. Richard reported that he had put two piles of hay in the open part of the barn, and Illusion (as usual) went to push Mac off his, but this time Mac didn't yield ground, and Illusion had to "steal" hay from the side; Mac just went on eating. This afternoon, when I went out for afternoon feed, Mac was favoring his right front, and had a scrape (bald spot) on the side of the pastern there (from a kick? From a scrape on the end of a stall gate?) He was in Illusion's stall, and the gate was closed, but not chained...IOW, Illusion must have pushed the gate shut with Mac in that stall (Illusion used to lock up horses he was annoyed with, at his former stable. He would lure them into a stall by pretending to eat from their manger, let himself be driven out, then quickly shut the stall door and latch it. He can't do that here, as it requires thumbs to put the chain in the angled slot.) I forced Illusion away from that stall, but Mac would not come out when I opened the stall door. Both were hungry and antsy, so I went on and fed them in the 'wrong' stalls.
We had heavy clouds and it was getting dark (and the barn has no lights) so I will check Mac's feet tomorrow when it's daylight and I can get him out into the south paddock. If he's lame from a bruised sole, he'll have the boots put on--unless that would rub the scrape. I'll medicate the scrape, then. It's possible that the sudden wet weather softened his soles and he found something to step on that made a bruise. It's possible that he's favoring that leg because whatever caused the scrape bruised the joint there. But dang it...this is definitely a horse looking for a way to get hurt. And they're doing *something* in the herd-social sense and I hope it settles down. Once horses agree on a dominance hierarchy, things are usually peaceful...but when horses change dominance, or they're too close in rank, that's when they row and bite and kick each other. Illusion wasn't ever alpha before...he's not a natural alpha...and neither is Mac...and that's the most fraught situation. (Kuincy would have sorted either of them in nothing flat...she was alpha to the core, and was willing to take on much larger horses, mare or gelding. She could be beaten, but it required real injury.)