Another adventurous day with the horses … perhaps a bit too adventurous this time. It started with Tally. I am so proud of her progress – slow but steady. Today she was so relaxed that she was actually lazy! When else would you be proud of a horse being lazy? But that is a significant change for my girl. Even when the neighbor started using his riveter (or whatever loud machine it was), she did no more than flick her ear for a brief moment. Not long ago that sound would have sent her bolting! All was peaceful and calm … until the terrifying aliens showed up!
At first it was just a sound from our neighbor’s yard – high pitched squeals, followed by giggling. Then the creatures came into view – toddlers! The way they
moved, the way they sounded – Tally was beside herself in horror! Feet planted, head in the stratosphere – nothing was going to move her from that spot! I kept looking and listening for something else to be the cause of this reaction. Surely miniature humans could not be so alien as to cause such fear in my mare. Yet, there was nothing else. I tried coaxing her, but there was no moving her. Eyes wide, nostrils sniffing the air – she was sure these small “squeaky” people were some new form of horse-eater!
Before long, I heard the voice of the mother of these horse-eating “demons”. Ah, relief would come soon … but it was not to be! Spotting the “pretty horsey”, she encouraged her offspring to come closer to have a look. Horror increased when one of the “alien horse-eaters” climbed up on the human, grasping around her neck! The other was obviously chasing the human, following closely on her heels. After a moment of sizing Tally up for their next meal, the small “demons” left with their new human prey. But they were still out there … somewhere!
To her credit, this level of intense concern from Tally would have previously entailed bolting across the arena. Freezing on the spot is a huge improvement for her. But I could not help being amused at just how sheltered my girl is – never have I seen a horse react to children the way she did! It was ten minutes after they left before she could execute the circle without hurrying past the last place they were seen. There was a wood pile covered in a blue tarp – in and of itself not bothersome to her, but a very likely place for small alien horse-eaters to hide!
Our next adventure involved our Mr. Coffee. He’s just coming back from being laid up for a few months from a strained peroneus
tertius. (Ever heard of it? Me either!) Just starting back on light lunging, after some time of hand walking, he’s been having a tough time containing his energy. My mother was lunging him today, and all was going reasonably well, until he stumbled over some trot poles. Regaining his footing on the other side, he took full advantage, dropped his haunches and launched!
Hanging on to a thousand pound horse that puts full force into launching himself is challenging to the best of us. My mother did her best to hang on, but it was a lost cause. Off Coffee dashed, bucking, twisting and galloping to the corner of the arena. He came to a stop, gazing across the back acre. My mother approached, and got her hands on the lunge line just in time for Coffee to launch himself across the arena. The line now tangled in his legs, my mother was forced to let go again.
Reaching the other end of the arena, Coffee once again came to a stop, head held high in the air. It was now my turn. After a brief game of “cutting horse”, with me acting as the horse and Coffee in the role of the cow, I convinced him that it was better to come out of the corner for a carrot than go off on another lark with that long white snake chasing him. My mother was able to resume the lunge session, settling him once again to his work – but I am quite sure that his little diversion was not on the veterinarian’s list of recovery activities!
Our final adventure of the morning involved my own Noble. He spent the morning turned out with Uncle Java, and it was time to come in for lunch. Lately he’s been getting a bit more independent, and isn’t always so willing to come in. Our answer has been to remove Java, which usually does the trick – Noble is still a bit herd-bound and not happy to be left alone. Well, my little boy is apparently growing up! This time, when we removed Java, Noble did no more than casually glance our way. So, my mother led Java away – still no reaction. As Java disappeared through the barn door, Noble finally looked up and decided it was perhaps time to go.
Casually strolling over to me, Noble calmly allowed me to halter him and lead him through the gate. I was marveling at the progress
my boy was making, when I decided to turn and close the gate. Well, apparently that was a step too far! The next thing I know, my now fifteen hand colt spun and dashed back toward the barn!
I have always had a nasty habit of hanging on to lead ropes and reins, often to my own detriment! This was no exception. Even as I was spun nearly off of my feet, I hung onto the rope tightly. Apparently my weight on the end of the line was enough to slow him, and I was next able to dig my heels in and get him to stop after three flying strides. Proud of myself for not letting go, I settled him back to his manners and we returned to close the gate. I had a polite young man walking back to the barn – still a triumph, though I paid the price. It was not long before I began to feel all of the muscles that had been strained by my unplanned torque!
Ah, life with horses! Just when you feel there is progress made, they make sure you realize you have not yet arrived! It would be tempting to write these incidents off as bad behavior – yet each one was just a horse being a horse. No ill intent was meant in any of these cases. Or so we’ll keep telling ourselves when those sore muscles really set in tomorrow!
Be good to your horses!