Mel from Boots and Saddles touched on the topic of those little quirks that endear us (or not) to our equine buddies. In her case Farley rather enjoys traveling on the precipice of a drop off rather than the much safer inner terrain of the trail. That got me to thinking of some of the strange things our horses do and have done. A few quite unbelievable but so help me, TRUE.
Puddin’ was a beautiful mare bred from the old polish lines. You just know those horses when you see them. I was brushing her one day and talking to my husband about what a fine mare she is and all the good breeding in her pedigree. He looks her in the eye and says something like “so that makes you special, huh?” She looked right back and gave an exaggerated nod to the affirmative. Anthropomorphism? Maybe just a little. But I’d rather believe that the mare full felt the intent of the words, and our love for her. That day will always resonate with me. I feel that Puddin’ loved her home with us in what ever way that horses may “love.” At the very least she trusted, and she would take me instead of a grassy meadow. That is saying something when you go a thousand miles a year on one horse and she meets you at the gate. Those kind of horses are once in a lifetime. If you have one, throw your arms around them, hug tight, for me. If Puddin' woke up as a person, she would have been a Polish Princess (assuming there are such things).
Phebes if you’ve been around for any length of time you know that she has been and is my problem child. I love that horse! And she’s such a pain in the butt in almost every way. Dreaded Alpha-mare. Especially known for untying any knot she can find. Her lips are like fingers. You tie her up. She unties herself. My personal favorite is when she leads herself. Yes, she picks up her own lead rope in her mouth and leads herself. If she separates from you on trail, you better be ready for a hike because she is heading for Dodge...where ever she thinks that may be! She is also a little OCD about the cleanliness of her stall. Poop goes in this corner, and pee a little to the left. That’s it. Three scoops and you are done with the stall. Patch up the bedding once a week. Phebes hates dogs. She would likely kill a dog if it gets too brazen in her pasture. I hate when she gives chase to one. She has stomped a cat too. That cat stays clear of her now since he walked with a limp for a month. She sees the pasture as “her” territory. Period. Phebes is grouchy, and moody, and smart. Not a good combination unless you are able to contain it. What a battle. EVERY. BREATH. OF.THE.WAY. But I love her, probably because she is the offspring of Puddin, whom she resembles in probably only one way. She twirls her head over every little bothersome thing. She twirls until her mane is tangled in dread-locks. *sigh* If Phebes were a person, she'd need Xanax or a bottle of rum, or she'd be a control freak, maybe she needs both. She'd also have your back because nobody would want to mess with her. You'd love her or hate her, but never, ever indifference!
Cree is a good gelding. He is huge his withers to the top of my head almost! He is gentle to lead and handle. But don’t get between him and a full bucket of feed. When it is feeding time he will work himself into a frothing frenzy wanting in the barn. He is insulin resistant and we have to watch his diet very carefully. He foundered at some point and LSEGH has more or less rebuilt the hoof from barefoot practices. He is sound for light riding which is saying something. So food is a big issue. He wants a lot, and he can have a little, and only the right stuff, or trouble sets in. So Cree has to be first in for feed or he becomes the devil! Cree is also a big chicken. He is the leader in the herd but the biggest fear monger. Go figure? I guess size counts in the kingdom of mare. An interesting story about Cree that really happened was my husband was standing by the fence and Cree was there, we were wanting the girls to come up and they were in the back field. Doug looked at Cree and said tell the girls to get their butts up here! He turns around, walks off, gets there attention and uses his head like a "come here" motion, and danged if they didn't! Here come the girls hauling for home. It was so funny and unforgettable. If Cree was a human, he'd be your neighbor grillin' in the back yard with a burger and an ice cold beer. "Step away from the grill."
Journey is treat obsessed. She is only allowed treats in three situations. When caught and haltered, I treat. When I ground mount and she stands nicely I treat. When she gets out of her stall in the morning I treat. She is a bad tempered bossy mare with the other horses. She doesn’t push Cree but she drives Phebes to distraction moving her from place to place just because she can. Journey is a picky eater. She eats enough, but balancing it with exercise gets tricky. She loves wet mash, but won’t eat it in the summer. She loves carrots but won’t eat them when she’s worked. She loves her concentrate feed but won’t eat it if distracted. She is an easy mare to ride. Most of the time. But once or twice a week she will brace up and try to cut for the trail to home. We go round and round literally until she heads where I want her. Then she is fine again like nothing happened. Journey also enjoys untying herself, but at least she doesn't resort to carrying her own lead rope. Journey dislikes things that rustle, in the barn, in the brush….she likes people because she has been spoiled, not really because she likes people. Let's rephrase. She likes what she gets from people. Treats, brushing, scratching. If Journey was a person she'd be the freckle faced red head her braids all sticking out hanging upside down from a tree with a sucker in her mouth. She'd run with the boys and kick the shins of the first one that called her a "girl."
If you were a horse, who would YOU be? When I thought about it, my husband would be Cree, big, gentle, kind (without the beer), and I'd be a pretty good rendition of Phebes when having a bad day ,and Journey on a good day, and maybe Puddin' "at heart." And they say we look like our dogs? Ha!