I’m sorry to say it, but Niobrara is just not that into Hamlet. I guess tall, dark and handsome isn’t really her type. Throughout my time in the Pryors this year, I witnessed Niobrara run off from Hamlet’s band several times, and Hamlet chase fairly good-naturedly after her. It may seem odd to us as observers, after all Hamlet is a calm and kind band stallion, but mares do have their own individual preferences. And Niobrara is making it quite clear that Hamlet’s band isn’t where she wants to stay.
What’s especially interesting is that Niobrara has no problem grazing next to Hamlet or even mutually grooming with him (she’s a bit of a tease, actually). She’s certainly not intimidated by him. But she is very unwilling to let him breed her. At first I assumed this was more due to her youth rather than any kind of individual preference. However, one morning Niobrara repeatedly rebuffed Hamlet (after grooming with him for several minutes) and the poor guy went off to play with a group of bachelors. While everyone’s attention was on Hamlet mucking about with the younger boys, I suddenly caught sight of Jupiter breeding Niobrara, and Niobrara standing very calmly. Eventually Hamlet noticed as well, and came charging over. While he did chase Jupiter off, there was only a small scuffle before Jupiter returned to his band, unscathed and rather pleased with himself. As for Hamlet, he decided to try his luck at wooing Niobrara again. The young mare wasn’t thrilled but around 15 minutes later did reluctantly breed with Hamlet.
It seems clear to me that, for whatever reason, Niobrara is not content in Hamlet’s band. Hamlet seems to be realising that, too. He did not make much of a go for Jupiter, and he is getting less and less determined when chasing after his wayward filly. For what it’s worth, Niobrara doesn’t seem particularly stressed when running away from her band, so I wouldn’t worry about her.