Category Archives: Horses

I Am Being One Brave Horse.

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It has been a very exciting day today!!  I am not getting to go out in the mornings.  This is because of fighting.  Everything was being fine until Chip said You stop bossing me around Huey! And I said You should just be doing what I say! and he said You are not the boss of me!! and I said Yes I am!! And he said Prove it!! And I said OK!!!!!  And now we are not getting to go out together any more.  My rider is telling me not to be so bossy, but I cannot be helping that.  It is just being how I am.

But that is not what I am wanting to tell you about.  It is this.  I am eating my hay this morning inside, because I am not getting to go out in the mornings now, and my rider is showing up there.  This is being early for my rider to come, so I am at first ignoring her.  But she is opening up the door and saying Huey!! Look what mama has on!!!

And then I am realizing something.  I am realizing that my rider has a name, like Huey.  Only it is not Huey, because that is being my name.  Her name is being Mama.    And I am realizing something else.  Mama is wearing riding boots.  And I am saying Mama.  Why are you wearing those boots?  You are riding some other horse? But she is saying No, Huey.  I am riding you.  We are going riding today!!

Well, I am not being so sure about that.  Last time we went riding, Bad Things happened.  I am wanting to go riding, but I am also not wanting to go riding.  It is being confusing.  But there it is, I am getting brushed, and I am getting my go riding boots on, and there is being my saddle, and my bridle, and my rider, I mean, Mama, saying It is time.  Let’s go lunge.

Well, lunging I can do.  It is all I have been doing, so that is being fine.  But then we are lunging and then she is taking me over to the mounting block, and then I am realizing I cannot go to the mounting block.  This is why.  The last time I am going to the mounting block, VERY BAD THINGS ARE HAPPENING.  I am bucking and my rider is flying and getting hurt and then I am thinking I am being sold but we are only moving to a new barn.  But I am knowing one thing:  it is because of the mounting block.  I cannot go there because bad things will happen!!!!!!!!!!

Mama is saying Huey.  MOVE OVER and STAND BY THE BLOCK.  But I am saying NOOOO!!!  I cannot!!!!!!!  And then there are other people there, and the other rider, and everyone is telling me Go stand by the block.  But I cannot do it!!!!!!!!!  Then the other rider is walking me and Mama is saying Huey, you can go by the block.  It is OK.  And the other rider is saying Yes, Huey, nothing bad is going to happen.  But I am knowing it will!!!!!!!!!!!  And I am saying NOOO!!!  But they are not stopping, and they are saying how brave I am having to be and go stand by the block and be a Good Boy Huey, it is OK.  And it is taking a very long time, but I am finally deciding I can be brave and I am going to stand by that block.

Then the other rider is getting on me and making me do hard things, but that is OK, because I am liking to work.  And I am having to go stand by that block some more. And then the other rider is getting off and everyone is wanting me to go back by the block.  I am seeing that Mama has a helmet on, and that is definitely meaning riding, and I am scared about that because what if something is happening?!?!?  And I am bucking again?!?!?!?  I am not wanting to throw Mama!!!!!!!!!  But she is saying Huey, you are such a Good Brave Horse.  I am knowing it will be OK.

I can tell there is something she is not saying.  That is because I am a horse and horses hear with more than ears.  She is saying I am knowing it will be OK, but she is also saying I am afraid it will not be OK.  She is not wanting to get bucked again.  But she is saying I am afraid it will not be OK with a small voice, and saying I am knowing it will be OK with a bigger voice, and so I am saying to her, It will be OK.  I am being a brave horse, and you are being a brave person.  It is being OK.  I am standing here, and you are getting on.

It is not being her best job of getting on.  The I am afraid it will not be OK voice is getting VERY LOUD but just for a minute, and then there we are being, me and her, Huey and Mama.  And she is squirming a little in the saddle, and I am standing very still.  Because that is what Good Brave Horses do.  They stand still.  And then she said Move out with her seat, just like always, and we did.  There was a lot going on, but I just remembered that I was a Brave Horse, and she remembered she was a Brave Person, and it was OK just like they were saying.

Then afterward, I got scared again because Mama had some stuff that she wanted to put on my neck.  It is being sore there on account of all the fighting I have been having to do.  I said NOOO!!  Do not be putting anything on me!!!!  But she is saying Huey.  Smell it.  It is smelling good.  And it is making your muscle feel good too.  Well, I remembered I am a Brave Horse, and so I am smelling it a little, and she is right, and then I am wanting to smell it some more and maybe put some of that on my tongue.  But she is saying No, this goes on your skin.  I am saying I have skin on my tongue.  But she is saying it is a different kind of skin.  And it is making the sore muscle feel better.

I am hoping that I will remember to be a Brave Horse when we go riding again.  Riding is better than not riding.

WHOA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I am writing last to be talking about having bucks and my rider getting extra legs.  Before that it is being the nice kind of boring that horses are liking.  Plenty of food, sun.  Too many bugs.

That is being then.  This is being now.  And now is being a very different thing.

I am noticing that horses are leaving, but this is happening sometimes anyways.  It is happening when it get cold, and some horses are going to live other places, except me.  I am not going anywhere, I am just living at the barn.  But it is happening now, when it is being hot.  Sometimes it is happening when there are shows, and I am going to lots of shows where I am jumping and making everyone impressed with me, because I am One Good Jumping Horse!!!!  But I am not going to shows in a very long time.  And I am thinking these horses are not going to shows either, because they are not getting baths first.  All horses are getting baths before going to a show.  This is because Show Horses Must Be Clean!!!!  That is being a very important rule.  Show Horses are also supposed to be getting braids, and none of these horses are getting braids before they are leaving.

So that is being strange.  Horses leaving when it is hot and not cold, and leaving when they are not going to shows. Sometimes when horses leave and they are not going to shows it is because of this:  they have gotten a new rider.  And the new rider takes them away to a new barn.  I am getting lots of new riders, but my rider now is telling me No More New Riders, just her.  And I am believing it.  And I am wondering how all these other horses are having new riders right now, all at the same time.  It is being very strange.

Then this morning there is being a lot of noise at the barn when I am being out in my paddock having breakfast.  I am hearing one thing:  my rider is being here.  But she is not coming to see me!! I am waiting, right there at the gate, for her to come see me, but she is not there!!  Just a lot of noise.

Then it is being a long time, and my rider is coming to see me.  She is not having so many legs this time.  Only three.  And she is not giving me treats over the gate, she is opening it up.  Having three legs is making it hard to open that gate, and I am trying to help, but she is saying Go back Huey. Let me in.  And I am saying I am only trying to help.

Then she is wanting me to go in the halter.  Having three legs is making her not good at that too, so I am thinking about walking away, but she is giving me a Stink Eye.  I do not have time for this shit, Huey, she is saying.  Go in the halter!

Well, I am not used to seeing her like this!!!  So I am coming back and putting my head down and going in the halter.  And we are walking toward the barn, but I am not believing what I am seeing.  There are trailers, and they are open, like for horses to be going in to!!!  And I am stopping!!!!!!!  And I am looking at this and saying Rider!! What are these trailers being for?!?!?  And she is saying Horses, dummy.  Move on.

But I am not understanding.  And then Laura is putting wraps on all my legs.  I am used to getting wraps on my front legs because that is protecting me against being lame again.  But I am not used to putting wraps on my back legs!!  And my rider is not being there, and I am not understanding this thing with wraps on all my legs, and I am not understanding ANYTHING AT ALL!!!!!!!!

And then I am knowing.  I am not wanting to be knowing this, but I am not a dummy, I am a Smart Horse, and I am knowing what all this is meaning.

I am thinking my rider is just being my rider always, but now I am knowing I am wrong.  I am getting a new rider.  I do not want to be getting a new rider!!!!!  I am thinking that I was a Very Bad Horse, and now I am having to go to a new rider!!!!!!!!!!!  I am not being happy about this at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then my rider is there, and I am saying I do not want to go to a new rider!!!!! I want to stay here!!!!!!!  And she is talking, but I cannot hear what she is saying because my words are taking too much space.  I do not want to go!!!!!!!!!!!!  But she is making me walk out anyway, and I am being right!!!!!!!!!  I AM HAVING TO GO IN THE TRAILER.  This is the worst thing ever.  My rider is still talking, and I am trying to run all over the place because this is being awful, and I am making my eyes open as far as they can be, and it is being so horrible that a horse is not having words for this.  And I cannot hear anything at all my rider is saying.

Then I am having to go in the trailer and Chip is being there, and I am thinking that I will now be going with Chip and Chip’s rider will be my rider.  That is not as bad as a new rider, but I am wanting my own rider and my stall and my paddock and that piece of grass I like to eat.  And then we are driving.  I am telling Chip What is going on?!?!?!  But he is not being happy about this either and he is saying Huey, shut up!!!  Leave me alone!!!!!

Then we are stopping.  I am thinking this is it, and here is where I will be meeting my new rider.

But when I am getting off the trailer, it is being all people I know! And there are horses here that I am knowing too!  And my rider is there saying Huey.  Huey.  Huey.  And I am saying WHAT IS THIS?!?!  WHAT IS HAPPENING?!?!?!  And then the person who rides me sometimes, who is a better rider than my rider, is there and she is saying Huey, come with me.  And I am saying You are my rider now?!??!!  But my rider is saying No, Huey.  I am still your rider.  And then we are standing in a strange barn, and there is an open door, and I am saying I AM GOING IN THERE NOW!!!!  But my rider is saying No, Huey.  Wrong stall.  This is your stall.  And I am having to move.

Well, I am running into that stall too, I am telling you.  And my rider is there by the door saying Huey.  Listen to me.  We have moved.  All the horses have moved.  We just have a new barn now.  We are still together.  Everyone is here now.  Listen.  Here comes Sprite.

And she is right.  I am hearing Sprite come near, but I am not seeing her, and she is saying WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?!?!? too.  My rider is saying This is your new stall, Huey.  This is a good barn. You are going to like it here.

But I am smelling the walls and they are smelling like other horses. And I am knowing this is not my stall.  My stall smells like me! Huey!  But my rider is making a move, and I am following her, because she is the only thing I am knowing, and it is taking a minute to realize something.  She is thumping on a grain bucket.

Well.  It may be some other horse’s stall, but a grain bucket is a grain bucket, and you never know that one might be having grain  in it, so I am checking it out.  And when I went up to it, I am getting one big surprise.

You will not be guessing what that surprise is, so I will be telling you.  It is being my grain bucket!!!!  It is smelling exactly like me!! And it is having the pieces of my salt lick and some of my breakfast still in there!!!!!!!  And there are water buckets, and they are my water buckets!!!!!!!!!  I am knowing exactly what they are smelling like, and it is being ME!!!!!!!!!

And I am eating that breakfast, and then someone is putting a whole flake of hay in there! And it is not even being lunch time!  A free flake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, that is being something pretty good, I am telling you!!  And Sprite is saying Huey! Is that you? And I am saying Yes!!!!

And there is being a lot of noise still, but then my rider is coming back and she is having my Fly Mask, and she is having carrots.  She is making me do a Carrot Stretch for them, but they are tasting very good.  And!!!  There is being an APPLE!!!!!

I am not wanting to have a new stall, and going in the trailer, or having a new rider, but my rider says No, Huey, you were not right about that.  I am still your rider.  When I get rid of this extra leg we will be riding again.  We are good.

I am thinking maybe.  My rider is telling me there are a bunch of horses I know, and then there are being new horses, who have never gotten to meet me, Huey the Wonder Horse.  They will be showing me respect, or I will be telling them what to do.  It could be being good.

It Is Being A Bad Week.

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I know I am not writing anything for a long time.  That is because there has not been anything to be writing about.  It is some riding, and it is some eating grass, and it is some talking to the other horses, and it is a very lot of bugs.  That is all.

But this week is not being like every other week.  This week is being a lot of trouble for a horse.  Last week my rider was being gone, and I am only going out once with the other rider.  And that is being OK, but I am missing my rider.

Then, my rider is coming back in the morning! And she is wearing riding clothes, so I am knowing it is time to go back to work.  I am one horse that is liking to have a job.  Not a horse, like some horses I can think of, who are just wanting to stand around and eat all day and get Hay Bellies.  I am being a trim, fast, working-hard horse!!  So I am happy to be seeing my rider and knowing we are going to be going out.  So I am trotting over to her and saying Rider! You are here!!  And she is laughing and saying I am here, Huey, I missed you! And even better she is scratching my withers.  This is being very good because they are being all itchy all the time.  That is from the bugs.

So we are being in the cross ties for a while, but then Rocket is coming in and he is saying Move, Huey.  I am getting my feet done now.  And we are moving into my stall, and I am getting scratched all over and it is feeling so good.  I am being one Very Happy Horse and thinking that it is a very good day!!  I am not liking going out to the ring because Rocket is not wanting to move over enough, and I am one Very Big Horse, and I am always thinking that there is maybe not enough room for me to go places.  My rider tells me I am being silly, that I am not that big, but still, it could happen.  I could get squeezed.

But I am not getting squeezed, and we are going in the ring and going to the block, and my rider is getting up on me, but then! There is being a problem!!!!! And it is being a VERY BIG PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am not saying what that problem is, and that is because I do not really remember.  But I am knowing there was a VERY BIG PROBLEM because I am doing SOMETHING VERY BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know. You are saying, Huey, what can you be doing that is so bad?  You are a good horse!  Not a bad horse that plays games with the block, not like some horses.

And I am saying, You are right. I am a good horse, but I was not being a good horse then!!  I could not help it, but I was being a BAD HORSE!!!! I was being the WORST KIND OF HORSE!!!

And now I am one embarrassed horse because I am telling you what happened.

I made bucks.

My rider was not even on, and I made a bunch of bucks, and I threw her.

Yes.  I was the Very Worst Kind of Horse.  The kind of horse that throws a rider.  And my rider was not even doing anything to make me throw her.  It just happened.

And then my rider was off and I could stop making bucks, but then.  It was being even worse!!!  My rider fell off before, and I was being one very embarrassed horse then because it is being my job to be the horse and her job to be the rider, and being the horse means being on the bottom and being the rider means being on the top but when my rider fell off, I was not on the bottom any more.  And that is meaning I am not doing my job, and that is being very embarrassing.  And then, my rider is getting up and patting herself and saying Huey, we are going back to the block and I am riding some more.  I am not wanting to because I am knowing what a Bad, Stupid Horse I have been, but she is making me go, and then everything is being fine.

But this is not being fine, because my rider is not getting up.  She is just lying there on the ground, making noises.  She is making Bad Words, but she is not getting up.  And then I am realizing it is even worse than the worst.  I threw my rider.  I made her stop being on top.  And now she is just on the ground.  I have had riders who fell off, because this happens, and sometimes they do not get up, and that is so Bad there are not even being any words for this.  And now I have made this happen.  Me, Huey, the Wonder Horse, has just hurt his rider with bucking.

I am realizing this, and Rocket’s farrier is coming in to hold on to my reins, but I am not going anywhere!!! I am standing there and watching my rider and waiting for her to get up and pat herself and say Huey, we are going back to the block, and it is not happening.  And I am thinking What kind of horse is doing this?  There is no horse in the barn that is being this bad.  Only me, Huey.

My rider is getting up but she is not walking right, like a horse being lame.  And she is not saying Huey, we are going back to the block.  She is saying Huey, what the fuck happened there?  What happened?

And I am not being able to tell her.  I am not being able to say anything.  I am not even being able to say I am sorry!  I am just standing there and I am not looking at her eye, and I am not sniffing her nose, and I am not saying anything at all.  Just looking at the ground, because I am being too bad to be talking to my rider.

Well, she is making me lunge, but it is not working very well because she is lame and cannot be walking.  I am remembering that she is not being lame when we are getting groomed, and I am knowing that it is me, Huey, who has been making her lame.  Very bad.  Very, very bad.  Then I am getting my tack off, and she is saying No grass today, Huey, I have to go to the doctor.  But I am not even thinking about the grass.  I am just thinking this:  very, very bad.  Bad Horse.  Baddest Horse.  Bad.

And then she is being gone.  And I am being there with the other horses, and they are all saying Huey! What are you doing! But I am not talking to them either.  That is being because I am bad.

And then it is a long time, and I am just being One Bad Horse, all the time.  My rider is not being there, and I am not even knowing what to think, so I am just thinking Bad, Bad Horse.

Then I am messing around in my paddock, looking for some pieces of hay, and there is a strange noise, and there is a smell I know, and there is a sound, and it is Huey! Hey Huey!

And it is being my rider.

And I am turning around and I am racing to the gate.  I am running as fast as a horse can!!  It is scaring the other horses, I am running that fast.  Sadie is saying Huey, you dummy, what are you running away from to scare us all?  But I am not caring.  I am not running away from something, I am running to my rider.  I am putting my head out over the gate as far as I can to get close and I am not even caring if the fence zaps me!! But I am not saying anything, either, because I am still thinking Bad Horse.

Then my rider is inside the paddock and she is saying Huey, it is OK.  We are OK.  It was an accident.  It better not happen again, but I know that you were not being a Bad Horse.  You are my buddy.  You would not be Bad to me like that.  You are OK, Huey.

And then I was OK, and I could be looking at my rider, but then I am being very surprised.  I am saying Rider.  You are having too many legs.  You are having the same legs as a horse.  And your new legs look very strange.  And she is saying Huey, that is because I am lame.  They are crutches.  I am borrowing the extra legs to make it easier to walk around.  And I am thinking, Maybe next time I go lame I could be borrowing a new leg so that I am not having to stand around in my stall too much.  But I am not sure about these new legs for my rider.  They are very strange.  I am wanting to smell them, all over.  And I am.  I am smelling one of them all over, and then I am smelling the other one too.  They are not smelling like a person.  They are smelling like the bars that keep me from being able to eat Rocket’s grain in the morning when we are all being in the barn.

I am not being sure about these legs, and I am saying That is too many legs for you to have when you are riding.  And she is saying We cannot go riding until I can get rid of the extra legs.  You have more vacation time, Huey.  And I am saying But I do not want more vacation time.  And she is saying Well, when a horse bucks a rider off, the rider gets hurt, and there is no more riding for a while, that is all.  I know that when I get an owie, there is no more riding, so I know about this, but I am not liking it.

Then I am wanting to smell those new legs again, but when I am doing that, I am smelling something else.  There is new leg, and there is rider, and then…there is Horse Muffin.  The good kind with the peppermint on it.  And once I am smelling that, I am not thinking about anything else at all.  Only peppermints.  And then I am getting them, and then my rider is saying Huey. Make a nose sniff.  And I am feeling better, and I am doing that.  And then everything is being OK.

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A Horse And His Girl

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The Wonder Horse and I shared a Moment today.

We don’t have too many Moments.  Huey…well, in his first life, I think Huey was probably traded around like a baseball card.  He’s a highly-bred professional athlete, and my take on the Professional Equestrian world is that it’s a rare, rare thing when someone competes with the same horse for years and years.  You do see it at the very top levels of the sport, but at the lower-but-still-high levels it doesn’t seem to be quite the thing.  It was clear, when Huey came to us, that he didn’t have any concept of Member Of The Family Status at all.  He acted like a horse that was used to having to be extremely sensitive and completely obedient under the saddle…but the rest of the time? It was clear that no one had bothered to invest in that.  No manners to speak of – unless you want to speak of bad manners. No concept of bonding and affection – and I’m talking about the horsey kind of those things, not the 8 year old horse girl kind of those things.

Under saddle, he was a High Performance Equine Machine with a lot of Go.

In the cross-ties, he was a steady, patient stander for the farrier, vet, and groomer.

Otherwise, he was demanding, impulsive, disrespectful, and barely seemed to notice the person who was handling him, regardless of who that person was.  He wasn’t interested in expressions of human affection, even the kinds that are often appealing to horses, like scratching.  He certainly didn’t dish out any obvious sort of equine affection.  He was mouthy, and would attempt to mug anyone for treats, but demanded them instead of asking politely.

Nevertheless, we liked each other.  I still remember this, riding him in a lesson, and my trainer marveling at how much Huey seemed to like me.  And I liked him right back.  There was a lot of like there, but it wasn’t an up-close and personal sort of “like”.  It was more of a “potentiality” sort of “like”.   Sort of a “recognizing” kind of “like”. It was enough of a “like” that when I found out he was to be sold, I was instantly appalled that Some Other Person would have him for their horse.  And thus, he became mine, and I became his.

My riding instructor is also a horse trainer, and one of the first things I did was invest in some Manners for Huey.  It was incredible to watch him get his perspective adjusted.  I can’t really do it justice with words.  If you go watch a few Buck Brannaman videos on YouTube you’ll see what I mean.  Huey came out of that with a New Awareness of the need to pay attention to the person on the end of the lead line, and a vocabulary involving Directions And How To Follow Them.  I got training for myself at the same time, and came out of it with a New Awareness of the need to pay attention to the signals I’m sending the horse, and a vocabulary involving Directions And How To Give Them.  It was one of the best investments I’ve made for Huey.  Right up there with getting a custom flocking job on his saddle so it fits properly.

Around that time, he was turned out with a mare – a little Chincoteague pony who put her own training on him.  I spent hours just watching her boss him around.  She would move him from Point A to Point B, in a way that would be pure caprice to humans…but it became clear that this capricious movement was, in part, directed at constantly reinforcing his awareness that there was a Boss On Deck, and it wasn’t him.  I took notes.  I also took note of how short her patience was with him: she expected instant obedience to her instructions.  There wasn’t ever any second request.  She would tell him to move his big red butt, and if he did not comply immediately, she’d lay those ears back while turning herself around and firing off a double-barreled blast at his side with both back hooves.  It was “move.” 1-2-BLAMMO.  And I took note that after a few of these, as soon as she said “move” he MOVED.

And so, we entered into our new life together with a dawning concept of Respect on his part, and an awareness of the need to be consistent on mine.  And it was fine.

The one thing, though, when my trainer was teaching him some manners, is that she couldn’t get him to “hook on” to her, as she put it.  I gathered that certain types of behavior and body language typically result in the horse developing some kind of (possibly temporary) attachment to the person on the ground, and that instead of getting attached, he tuned out.  I could see it.  He turned his head away a hair, not enough to show disrespect, but to avoid the lure.  He wasn’t available for that.  He wasn’t accessible.  He behaved, but he didn’t warm up.

I remember the first time he started to thaw even a little.  It was an early winter morning in the barn, waiting on the farrier to arrive first thing.  The horses were all in their stalls, not even quite awake for breakfast.  I just stood at Huey’s stall.  If I had the halter, he’d stand still and cooperate, but otherwise, he wasn’t spending any time sharing space with me.  Usually, he’d move away if I just stood there.  This time, he approached me.  I put out my hand tentatively.  Usually he’d move away from that too – unless I was grooming him or otherwise doing some kind of work-y thing.  This time, he just stood there.  I scratched his neck.  He didn’t move.  I scratched some more.  He didn’t respond in any way at all, other than not moving away.

It was our first Moment.

Over the years, he’s slowly but surely engaged with me more.  It’s been hard to know how to show him what it means to be a Member of the Family rather than Instrument of Victory.  These are very different worlds, and he wasn’t any spring chicken when we got together.  Over the years, he’s listened to me better, and talked to me more.  He’s accepted my human demonstrations of affection, while not really returning them, and I’ve been fine with that.  I know that a kiss has no real meaning in Horse Language, and most of the stuff that does mean “I like you!” in Horse is stuff that I don’t let him do around me because it’s dangerous.  Biting, shoving, there’s a reason they call it “horsing around” when kids are playing very physically with each other.  All I asked is that he stand still for a kiss and not pull away.  And over the years, he has.

I remember hand-grazing him last summer after a ride.  I’d hosed him down to cool off, and was letting him at the salad bar until he was dry.  A woman whose kids were getting a riding lesson stopped by and asked if this was my horse.  I told her with pride that he was.  She said she could tell, that we had a Bond. I wondered what on earth she could have been talking about.  I felt, largely, that what we had was an Ongoing Conversation rather than a Bond.

Then I got some professional portraits late last fall, and I could see it too.  I do have a Bond with Huey.  It positive burns off the screen in some of these pictures.  And looking at it, in succession of maybe 200 pictures taken over 2 hours or more, it’s so visible that I don’t wonder that perfect strangers could see it.

We’ve made a few advances even since then, when the pictures were taken.  Back in the day, when I approached the paddock and greeted him with a “Hey Buddy!” he might look up from his grazing, glance at me, and go back to his business.  He might just ignore me entirely.  Now, as often as not, he stops what he’s doing and comes over to the gate to greet me.  The other day, he even trotted over to the gate.  Horses don’t smile with their lips, but he was smiling with his whole self.

There was a Moment a few weeks ago, when I was untacking and cleaning him up after a ride.  No matter where I went, there was his nose, right there, right in front of my face.  He was very patiently moving it around, making sure that it was right there at all possible moments.  Eventually, the penny dropped for me.  He wanted to sniff noses, which is basically a sort of Horse Kiss.  Or, it can be.  With a certain kind of Sniff, it’s a Horse Kiss-My-Ass. This wasn’t that kind of sniff.   It’s the first time I remember him wanting to, well, bond.

And today, he was itchy and very happy to be getting curried.  The bugs have been bad, and if you do it right, currying is kind of like scratching.  The good kind of scratching, not the kind that make people say “Don’t scratch that!”.   Usually Huey cooperates with getting his face curried.  He doesn’t like it, but he tolerates it because I tell him he has to.  Some horses really like to get their forelock scratched, but he’s Not That Kind Of Horse.  I keep trying, just in case, and he keeps tolerating it, sort of.  He tolerates it for about 3 scratches, then he puts his head in the air like a giraffe.  He used to do that all the time when I got him.  Now, he hardly ever does it.  I regard that as a Success.

But anyway, I tried again today.  This time, to my shock, he dropped his head immediately, rested his face on my front, and I swear, if he was a cat, he’d have been purring.  He stood like that until my hand got tired.  I switched to the other hand, he put his face back on my front, and started not-quite-purring.  He has never done anything like that before.  Ever.  It was a Moment.

I begin to think that he’s starting to understand what it means to be a Member of the Family.  I begin to think that the penny has finally dropped for him that he doesn’t have to prove himself, that he doesn’t have to worry about when he’s going to have to go somewhere else, that he’s with me, and really, he will always be with me now.  No more getting traded, no more moving around, just us, doing whatever it is that we do.  I begin to think he’s learning about affection, and why it’s good.

 

Horse Kisses

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I am feeling like One Great Horse now!  There is being a lot of Wild Horse wind, and I am getting to roll around in a lot of dirt and making my Horse Magic to make those bugs go away, and Rocket is not getting to eat any of my hay. He is trying to do this, but I am not letting him!!  I am making a big Stink Eye, and putting my ears right back, and he is saying Whoops! Huey! I am sorry!  I will not try to eat your hay!!!  And then, being the best, he is forgetting this a bunch of times, which is meaning that I can be making that Stink Eye and putting my ears back many times in every day. I am not supposed to be doing this to any of the humans here.  It is only being OK if it is another horse.  If I am doing this to humans I am getting into Big Trouble!!!!  I am not being a dummy, so I am not doing this, only to Rocket.

Today my rider is there, and she is wearing the right pants and the right boots for riding.  And I am saying Rider! You are here! And she is saying Yes Huey! But then she is taking me to the Round Pen.

I do not like the Round Pen.  Being in the Round Pen means that I am being a Bad Horse.  I am having to walk around that Pen and I am having to pay total attention to my rider standing in the middle of it, even if I am really wanting to look out at the grass and the flowers and the water and some thing that is making noise out there.  But if I am doing any of that in the Round Pen I am getting in Big Trouble!!!!!

I am seeing that my rider is taking me to the Round Pen and I am saying this:  Rider, I do not want to be going in there.  And she is saying Huey, go there.  And I am having to be a Good Horse and going in there.  And then I am having to play Hide The Hiney, and I am forgetting that I have to hide all of my hiney, not just some of it, or my rider is making the rope snake bite me on the butt.  But I am getting better about that.  I was not good at it at all earlier.  I forgot all the Rules.

I did not forget all the Rules today!!!  I remember all of the Rules, and I was paying Very Good Attention to my rider, even though there was something very interesting up on the hill.  And Chip was getting brushed too.  But I am paying attention only to my rider, and she is saying Huey.  It is windy.  I am thinking you are having bucks and you are needing to be getting those out.  But I am saying Even if I am having bucks, it is being very rude to you, rider, to be showing that.  I am only paying attention and doing what you say!!!!!! And I was. And this is meaning that I am getting out of the Round Pen fast!!!!!  If I am knowing that then I am always paying attention and not ever having to go in the Round Pen a lot, ever!!!!!  I am knowing this because I am being one smart horse.

My rider is not being sure about this, but she is saying OK Huey, let’s go riding.  But first, I am getting my withers scratched.  They are being very itchy these days.  My rider is getting the curry brush out, and I am walking up and down trying to put the itchy spot under that brush.  But my rider is saying Huey, I am having to brush all of you, not just the itchy parts.  And I am saying I know.  But brush the itchy parts now please.  And she is saying You asked nicely, so OK. Then we are going out riding.

And then Chip is having to go in the Round Pen!!  He is being hardly more than a baby, so his is having lots of bucks!!!!  And it is making a HUGE NOISE!!!!!  It is making a huge noise WHILE WE ARE RIDING!!!!!  And I am saying Rider, do you know that Chip is over there making a lot of bucks?  And she is saying Yes, Huey, but now is the time to be making a circle.  And I am making that circle, and she is patting my neck and saying GOOD HORSE!! And she is right.  I am being a Good Horse.  Chip is making even more noise!! But I am not getting scared of that!!!!!!!  Not even when he is getting to come into the ring and go at a trot and a canter and my rider is saying You stand still now Huey.  I AM STANDING STILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And after all that, everyone is saying Huey, you are one Good Horse!!

And I am getting my tack off, and I am thinking that I am One Good Horse, but I am also thinking that my rider is helping me be One Good Horse.  So then I am saying this:  Rider.  We are going to be having a Horse Kiss. Only she is not listening to this.  So I am putting my muzzle up to her muzzle and saying It is time.  But she is not knowing!!  She is moving her face to the side, just like my muzzle is in the way!!!  So I am saying Rider.  No.  It is time for a Horse Kiss.  And I am putting my muzzle back there.  Anywhere she is putting her muzzle, I am putting mine, because I am knowing that she will understand soon. And I am being right.

She is stopping and saying What? Huey? Your muzzle is being everywhere I am going.  What is this?  And I am saying It is a Horse Kiss.  You are blowing a little bit into my nose, and I am blowing into yours.  Then she is doing that.  Making a small blow, not a big blow like I am making when I am wanting some other horse to know that I am More Important.  She is making a little blow, and I am making a little blow, and I am saying That is right, now be doing that again.  And she is blowing and I am blowing.  And then I am giving her my other nose.  Humans only have one nose.  It is having two holes, like me, but those holes are so close together that it is really being only one nose.  Horses are having two holes, but they are being a very long way apart.  And it is really having two noses.  So I am giving her my other nose, and she is making a little blow on that, and I am making a little blow on her.  And then I am saying Rider!! Now you are knowing how to make a Horse Kiss!!!!  Then she is giving me a big hug on the neck, which I am putting up with, and making a Human Kiss on my muzzle.  I am liking the Horse Kiss better.

Then we are having some grass, and then I am going back in the paddock and making Rocket go away from the hay.  Then my rider is coming out and I am thinking this means a Treat, so I am going over to the fence.  It is meaning a Treat, too.  Then Rocket is coming over to see about a Treat, but I am making a Mean Face and saying THESE ARE MY TREATS ROCKET! NOT YOURS!!! and he is saying OK Huey. That is all being a very good day for a horse.

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