Monday, December 22, 2008

Whoa, whoa, whoa, tis the season

Oh my! It seems as if another one of those odd human rituals is upon us. Several of the stalls sport wreaths and shiny grass looking stuff. Shorty has red bows in his forelock, put in by his human’s herdmate, a fact that embarrasses him immensely. My own human has added decorations to my stall, all of them seemingly inedible, which in my view is a waste of time. The horses from barn four have returned to their regular stalls. Lucky is heartbroken that he can no longer stare at Lula all day, but none of us miss Voltare. We do get to see them during rides and out in the paddocks, so Lucky is not completely without solace.

Earlier this week my human appeared in a strange garment that left her legs bare, I felt quite sorry for her since she had nothing to keep her legs warm and her footwear was like the gaited horse's we saw at the show, rather tall and clunky. She smelled really nice, but not herself. Her hair was also all puffed up and bushy, something I had never seen before. I must say that even for a human she has nice fetlocks, perhaps why her herd mate followed her so closely and kept hurrying her to leave for a "partee" whatever that is. She left me several carrots in my feed tub as a treat so I didn't miss her too much.

But today I was truly appalled, yet again. My human has decided to dress me up in antlers so she can point her black box thing at me. I'm so embarrassed. Has a horse ever suffered so much at the hands of a human? I think not. Shorty has acquired a set of bells for his breast collar; you can hear him jingle as he is ridden, something that I will never let him live down. Pebbles has several decorations hung outside her stall and the music has been switched from soothing classical to stuff about some fat human named Sandy Claws who has tremendously bad taste in clothes, consorts with deer and a group of small rowdy toy makers. Whatever will the humans think of next? Football came by sporting a red bow around his neck that was almost bigger than he was. He also has a bright green sweater with some kind of fat man made out of white circles on it. What makes humans want to dress animals up in hideous clothing? Does it make them feel better about their own strange garments? I must ponder this, because my human has said she has another surprise for me later. I shudder to think about it. More later.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Color of Munny

I have been remiss in posting, due to some unforeseen circumstances, and now must play catch up. It is cold and rainy today, so I had plenty of time to review my Diary and repost the most interesting entries here.

My last post had our barn being visited by the cirkus. I also fell and hurt my hip, not badly, but enough to garner a lot of sympathy and carrots, and a stick in the butt. The day after the cirkus got here, and I was still on stall rest, Trooper witnessed the funniest thing. He was turned out in the lower paddock, above the lower arena.

Voltare was working with his human in the lower arena. I have said before how striking Voltare is. He is really a beautiful horse, and the sad part is that he knows it. He’s also a complete prig and one of the snobbiest horses I’ve ever met. His half sister Lula is the complete opposite. She likes everyone, regardless of his or her station in life. So anyhow, Voltare is working his human and into the arena comes the cirkus horses with their human. I must have looked befuddled because Trooper elaborated. There were three horses, and they shared one human. Why would three horses share a human? Can’t they afford to each have their own?

The three horses, one letting the human ride it, and the others ponying off of each side, started walking and then jogging around the ring. Voltare ignored them and continued to work his human, evidently not satisfied with how his human was sitting his jog. Trooper was bored with grazing and rolling so he watched the horses working.

Voltare and his human were working big circles at one end and the other three horses were at the other end working their human. Trooper was growing bored again, when something strange happened. The human from the cirkus suddenly stood up on the back of the middle horse and started riding him while standing up. Trooper about fell over from shock. He’d never seen someone riding while standing up. I haven’t either, and had I been more awake I might have questioned the truthfulness of Trooper’s story, but those jabs by the sticker man were still making me drowsy.

Trooper remained at the fence, his eyes glued to the human standing up on the horses. After a few rounds riding on just the middle horse the human stretched out his legs and had one foot on the two outer horses. He then loosened his reins and the middle horse surged ahead and was out in front. The two middle horses moved closer. Whoever heard of such a thing? Why would a human ride with their feet? Why would anyone need three horses to do the job of one?
Trooper said it was fascinating to watch and even more so when the horses picked up speed and were cantering around the ring. I was impressed. Most humans can barely stay on at a canter while balancing on their butts! I don’t think I know of any that would be able to ride with their feet. After several loops around the ring the human guided the three horses over toward the rail and even had them take some jumps. IMAGINE? Jumping on your feet? Trooper said the jumps were in the short pony range, but it’s still impressive.

By now Voltare and his human had stopped working and were watching the trio of horses. Trooper said Voltare looked disdainful, but his human was interested. When the cirkus group finally ended their work out and was cooling down the human was again on the middle horse. Voltare and his human rode along side the trio and Trooper said he could tell the two humans were talking. Voltare ignored the other horses, even though they offered a friendly greetings. He’s such a prat sometimes.

After a few trips around the arena Voltare’s human guided him into the middle of the ring and they started doing some western maneuvers. Trooper said Voltare was really showy; sidepassing, pivoting and doing some one beat lead changes. It really horks Trooper to admit a western horse can do dressage exercises, but even he has to agree that Voltare is a great show horse.

Once Voltare stopped his demonstration something strange happened. His human dismounted and the cirkus human got off of the middle horse. They exchanged reins and the cirkus human mounted Voltare! Trooper said Voltare looked like the sticker man had jabbed him in the butt! Troops is so funny when he tells a story, because he mimics facial expressions. The cirkus human guided Voltare to the middle of the ring and Trooper said even though Voltare was furious (his ears were pinned) he was still professional and performed flawlessly. Trooper was really miffed that he was too far away to hear what the humans were saying, but he could tell it was aggravating Voltare tremendously. Just when Trooper was bursting with curiosity his human appeared and haltered him. He hated to go back to the barn and miss the excitement. But instead of heading toward the barn she led him down to the lower arena and stood outside the fence.

Trooper’s human is young, about the same as a four-year-old filly, but she’s also quite pretty by human standards, and most male humans notice her quickly. Even those with herdmates get a little snorty. When she approached the fence Voltare’s human greeted her and told her what had been going on. The cirkus human finally finished with Voltare and rode over to the group and dismounted. He patted Voltare’s neck, which got him a nasty look and more ear pinning from Voltare. Then he and Voltare’s human started discussing the horses. Trooper was all ears!

First the cirkus human was saying how nice and pretty Voltare was, which had him looking smug, but then the smugness got wiped off his face when the cirkus human offered to buy Voltare. Trooper said Voltare just about sat back on the reins he jerked his head up so fast. Voltare’s human brayed a bit, but shook his head like he had a fly in his ear. Trooper said his human was open mouthed. Then the cirkus human offered a larger amount of munny ( something that I don’t understand, but humans set great store by) Trooper said Voltare’s human quit braying and got really quiet. Evidently large amounts of this “munny” stuff makes humans mute.

Trooper and his human waited in silence, but finally Voltare’s human shook his head again and said he couldn’t part with his horse. Trooper said Voltare looked like he was going to collapse in relief, but also looked angry, because he knew his human had considered the offer. Trooper said the walk back to the barn was subdued, even his human was quiet. (Rare, to be sure). When they reached the barn Voltare was tied in front of the tack room to be untacked, but Trooper was tied in the aisle so he could be brushed. He whispered to Lula, Shorty and Lucky what had happened (I was dozing in the back of my stall) and he said they were all shocked, but then Lula started whickering and pawing. Trooper said she teased Voltare unmercifully for the rest of the evening. He got madder and madder and finally kicked his buckets off the wall! Imagine him having to face the shame of being a traveling cirkus horse! To have to perform with camellamas and trick dogs! Oh, the humiliation for a horse of his talents and pedigree. I’m so glad it happened to him! Now he can’t snort down his nose at the rest of us! It almost makes being scared by the huge cat-beasts and the Effelumps worthwhile just to have Voltare reduced a few hoof lengths in stature! More later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dear Tuffy

Catching up on my mail, I am such a slacker horse sometimes!

Dear Tuffy,
I am a young stallion (going on 5 next spring), my human has been with me since birth. My human has always "tried" to teach me good from naughty but I find it is fun being naughty.
My human trusts me very much so I take advantage of it. When we ride in the round ring I will do almost everything my human asks but have to mix it up some to go back to easy stuff.
It is most funny when my human takes me out of the round ring to ride. I see my girls and act naughty. Well my human gets upset with me and back into the round ring we go.
It truly is a fun mind game I like to play with my human. When at shows, I have to nicker to myself because allot of the humans come to my human in disbelief that I am a stallion and would you believe they all have to look under to make sure ha ha. My human tells me "why can't you act so good most of the time". Well I fear for my stallion hood. I think my human is thinking of taking it away from me. I want to fix it but it has become such a part of my life I am not sure how to correct it. I WANT MY STALLION HOOD!
My human has also sent me to a few different trainers. That is pretty funny too. I do so good then get to come home to the same old games.
Any advise would be great.

Wanting to remain intact.

Dear Wanting

My suggestion is that you straighten up immediately or the sticker man will appear and you are one jab in the neck away from losing your matching foal makers. You'll just have to trust me on this one, I've been there.
I'd recommend that your human get a nerf bat and establish very clearly what constitutes her space and what is your space. While I appreciate the superiority of the horse over the human, I have to acknowledge that their ability to work the clicky ear things and summon the sticker man far exceeds our abilities to get away. Yield now, or you'll be yielding up something else later.


Dear Tuffy,

I finally quit my harness racing job last summer and got myself a hobby-type job. I'd had this hobby for about three years and decided at twelve, it was time to make it more than a hobby. I am now a full-time riding horse. I teach riding lessons, and sometimes get to do fun things like horse shows and trail rides with small children! I currently share my human with four other horses. It's not that bad considering I have never had a human I could call mine. I used to be way too busy with work at the track to have my own human. They require so much attention! This human caught my eye eight years ago when she actually followed my demands for treats and neck scratches, but didn't become mine until a year ago. I'm telling you all this because I really haven't had my own human before, and I need some advice. My human likes to kiss all of the horses noses, which we usually just tolerate, it's her way of showing affection. For the past two weeks, when my human kisses my nose I try hard not to cringe. My human has had horrible breath! None of the other horses know what to do. How do I let her know without making her angry with me?


Dear Prime,
Congratulations on getting your very own human!
I suggest you eat some manure, as the rest of us on occasion do, and remind her why human lips need to stay away from horse lips. Kissing as a method of equine affection is limiting. So unless she wants to scratch your withers with her teeth she needs to keep her mouth away from you.
Or, a good dose of horse snot, right as she is puckering up, is guaranteed to keep her face away from your face, it's even better if she's wearing a white shirt.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Oh what a cirkus!

Yesterday we moved back to our regular barn once the aisle was set. It still smelled burnt and tarry, but it was nice to be home. I had thought we would leave Lula and Voltare behind, but now the Barn 4 horses have moved up to our barn while their aisle is being re-floored. I’m back in my regular stall between Trooper and Shorty, with Lucky on Shorty’s other side.
Pebbles is back across the aisle from Shorty, Lula is next to her and Voltare is on her other side, which puts him across from me. Lucky is in horse heaven being able to stare at Lula all day. He is still to shy to speak to her, the dolt. She flirts mercilessly with him, knowing he will be too shy to answer.

We had not been back in our barn for more than a few hours when we heard a terrible clanging and banging. Trooper and I tried to see out the back stall windows, but couldn’t really see out to the road. We could see the strange red flashes that meant the scary screaming wheeled caves were out on the road. I hoped it wasn’t an accident with one of our humans!

It turns out that it wasn’t one of humans. Instead it was a huge wheeled cave that coughed up its innards and refused to move. It snorted smoke and made a nasty oily smell that drifted into the barn. The red lights flashed for some time and by the time they stopped it was feeding time and we turned our attention to more important things! After eating I returned to the window a few times and could still see some lights and hear voices coming from the road, as well as other strange noises that I could not place. I eventually grew bored of watching and allowed myself to go to sleep. Must have that beauty rest!

This morning I was up early to greet my human. She is still limping from her injured leg, but getting around well enough. She said she would be allowed to ride in a few days. I hope so! If she misses much more training she will not do well in the fall shows. After eating my morning meal she haltered me and led me out for grooming. She is so considerate! Even though I am not training her today she still takes the time to brush me, as a good human should! When I was out in the aisle I caught several new scents, strong, even over the smell of the tar. I couldn’t identify most of them, except to say they smelled like live scents, not plants or metal.

My human led me outside and at first I thought we were going to my regular paddock. Imagine my surprised when I saw the huge injured wheeled cave parked alongside the paddock. And in the paddock the most horrific things!

The first thing I saw was several of the camellama things tied to the fence, eating hay that looked suspiciously like mine. One pinned its ears and spit at me. Nasty creature! Down the fence from these hairy beasts was another camellama thing that was taller and had a huge hump on its back. How odd! And these things really smelled. Not clean and grass sweet like horse, but almost pond scummy like cows. The barn manager walked up and started talking to my human, mentioning that the wheeled cave belonged to the cirkus and they needed a place to park until they could fix the injured wheeled cave.

FootBall came up and offered to touch noses so I did to be friendly. While my human chatted with the barn manager I asked him about the humped creatures. He said they were camels and lived in a place that had nothing but sand. I must have looked skeptical, because he insisted that it was true, he’d seen it on the black box. I shuddered! If FootBall was brave enough to watch the black box then I wasn’t going to question his honesty.
I asked him what the hump was for and he said: “ It’s where they store their humans.”
I looked at him in horror and he yapped to show he was joking. Little bugger!

Once my human quit conversing with the barn manager we walked along the verge on the opposite side from the injured wheeled cave. I could still smell the camellamas, but I could also smell other scents, I couldn’t identify. Little did I know what was lurking farther down the road.

As we walked along the lane the smells got stronger and stronger. When we passed the division between the north and south paddocks I got the shock of my life. Behind the row of huge trees that line the paddocks were these huge grey things! I mean really huge! Even bigger than the draft horses that live down the road. They appeared almost hairless and had huge flapping ears. But that wasn’t the worst! Hanging from their faces was this huge grey snake! It was so frightening! And the snakes moved and slithered and even picked up hay and stuffed it into the mouths of the big grey things! The snakes were feeding the grey things! Why? Was it to fatten them up further before they then turned on them and ate them?

When confronted with these things I did what any sensible horse would do; I whinnied in terror and bolted for home. I jerked the lead from my human’s hand and with nary a thought towards her safety, and the fact the grey snakes could easily eat her too, I left. I’m ashamed to admit it, but felt justified at the time. I galloped down the lane between the paddocks and in my blind terror I turned up the alleyway that divides the paddocks. I had no idea what further horrors I would encounter!

I reached the end of the alleyway and then turned back up the next lane that leads to Barn One. Right as I reached the end of the lane I realized there was another large wheeled cave parked beside the entrance of the parking area. This cave had canvas sides rolled up and then bars! Behind the bars were the biggest cat beasts I had ever seen! They were the size of the grey pony! And even worse they were painted with wide dark stripes, which made them look even more menacing! I froze in fear and watched as one of the huge cat beasts gnawed on a piece of raw meat. Somehow, subconsciously, I counted my stable mates and determined Voltare was still in the barn when I left, so no such luck there! One of the beasts finally noticed me and roared at me, its mouth open wide enough to eat an entire saddle! I spun in a matter that would have made Shorty proud and tore back down the lane, forgetting that the safety of my stable was only a few hoofbeats beyond the beasts’ cave.

As I galloped back down the lane I looked ahead and to my dismay I saw one of the huge grey things being led by its snake, walking beside a human. The snake was wrapped around the human’s arm. I whinnied shrilly and decided that death by huge cat beast or death by huge grey snake were not something I wanted, so I did the only thing I could do, I turned and hopped over the paddock fence. I doubt even Pebbles could have made the jump. The fence is at least a 13 hand pony tall and I took it in just one stride from the center of the lane. Once in the paddock I galloped toward the other fence that fronted the barn entrance. I could hear humans yelling behind me, and from the lanes, but I never stopped. I jumped the next fence and galloped into the barn.

Sadly I had forgotten the new floor, and even sadder the barn boys were hosing it down. I slid on the floor, rolled over like a fat puppy and end up slammed against the far wall. I heard the bang when I hit, and then several other bangs, which led me to believe that other horses in the barns crashed into the backs of their stalls when the noise spooked them. I didn’t hit my head on anything, and actually suffered no scrapes, but I knew I was going to have a huge sore spot on my right haunch before I even got up.

My human limped up, calling to me and then telling me to calm down. Humans are so funny, they are in hysterics, but they tell the horse to be calm. I got up, a bit wobbly I admit, and felt muscles twinge that I didn’t even know I had. The barn manager came up and quickly checked me all over. I had no breaks or cuts, just tender spots where my side had met the ground. I was led slowly to my stall, my human petting me and talking to me softly.

I was aware of the other horses staring at me as I passed and felt embarrassed until Trooper whickered, “ Great jumping, Tuff.” I felt a swelling of pride, which was unfortunately matched by a swelling of hip. My human put me in my stall and then flipped open her clicky ear thing and started speaking into it. I have no idea what these things are; although you can sometimes hear voices coming from them that sound almost human, but metallic. I heard her mention the sticker man’s name and knew I was in for a butt jabbing! Ugh.

My human continued to stay with me, speaking to the other humans through the stall door. All was well and sympathetic until Lucky’s human arrived. When she heard about my narrow escape from the giant cat-beasts and the grey snake thing (called Effelumps by the humans) she started braying and that set my human to braying. I knew they were finding fun at my misadventures so I poked my head into a corner for a good sulk. This didn’t serve any purpose except to give the sticker man easy access to my rear when he arrived and he rudely jabbed me twice before vacating the stall. At that point I lost interest in anything but dozing and missed any other occurrences until I woke up this evening.

Trooper whickered to me this evening that he had a story to related about Voltare and the cirkus and I promised to hear it in the morning. Right now I am tired and sore and ready to sleep. More later.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ask Tuffy

I have a problem and I desperately need your help! My human is cheating on me! I have caught her coming back from the other barn and she had long flaxen hairs on her coverings. I am devastated! Have I not trained and shown her to perfection? Have I not lavished affection and a large amount of slobber on her over the years. Sure I'm not young filly any more, but I'm still able to pop a fence and do lead changes! What can I do? I have so much invested in her!

Not the Other Horse in Texas

Dear Not,

Dump her. Literally, on her head. Then get yourself a nice twelve year old girl that will love you unconditionally and make you the center of her world. Once a human cheats it is hard to trust them again. I have loaned my own human to other horses when their human is sick, or too busy to ride, but she always makes it clear that she belongs to me and she will never leave me for another horse. If your human wasn't feeling guilty then she wouldn't be trying to hide the fact that she's seeing another horse. Don't delay, and don't let her get the upper hoof. Take control and pick your next human quickly.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Fall Show

Went to an open show today and saw some interesting things. My human and Lula and Voltare’s human have struck up a friendship and decided to go together to a show this weekend. Lucky’s human was invited too. We loaded up in the big four horse wheeled cave and headed over to the show grounds. We had been bathed and blanketed the night before and Voltare was simply an unbearable snob. I wanted to put my hoof in his head! Lula torments him mercilessly and it just drives him into a rage. Hard to believe they are half siblings. Lucky stays completely out of their arguments. He loves Lula but is too shy to even speak to her and Voltare scares him to death. Just to be ornery I always take Lula’s side, which makes Voltare even madder.

We arrived at the show and Lula’s human and his herdmate tacked up Lula and Voltare while my human and Lucky’s human tacked us up. Lucky and I were just going to school our humans at this show, so there were no major nerves. When we came from around our side of the trailer Lula and Voltare were tacked up and their human’s dressed for their events.

Lula was lovely. She does the saddled seat and her human looked very dapper in her three-piece outfit and funny little head covering. Lula’s flaxen mane and tail were all shiny and creamy. Lucky stood there, drooling and unable to move, looking at her like a besotted fool.

When I looked at Voltare I almost gasped. He was stunning. He was tacked up western, with a saddle that was loaded with shiny plates. His bridle and reins were covered in more shiny beads. His bright red mane and tail were no longer braided and wrapped, and instead hung down shimmering and wavy. If he were a mare I would have fallen in love! Even our humans whistled admiringly.

We set off for the show ring, stopping to talk with other horses and humans we knew. Lula was in the first classes, so we watched her show. Voltare took his human over to the warm up ring, so we didn’t have to endure his snide comments. When Lula came trotting in the ring, knees lifting high, white stockings flashing, I thought Lucky was going to fall over from yearning. Lula’s human is a very trim female and she is a brilliant rider. She offers support instead of dominance. Her hands were light on the required double reins and her seat was so secure she didn’t hinder Lula’s rapid trot in the slightest. It was a joy to watch them both. They won several classes and then did a combination class where the horses were ridden and then stripped off. I have to say that even after a few hours of riding Lula was just as brilliant.

After the saddled seat classes were over Lucky and I walked over to the warm up ring. There was a break in the show while the smoke monsters dragged the arena. We walked and trotted a bit, warming up our humans for our afternoon classes. We passed Voltare several times, but he was concentrating on his human and paid us no mind. I may be a tease, but even I know better than to distract a horse that is in training mode.

When the next classes were called it was for Voltare’s western classes. We wandered over to watch and met Lula and her human at the rail. Lula had been untacked and hosed off and she was so fresh and pretty looking! The first class came in and Voltare immediately stood out. Not only was he one of the few Arabians, but he was also one of the few horses with his head up high enough to see where he was going. Lucky and I glanced at each other in confusion, and he shrugged as if to say he had no idea what was going on. Voltare moved along at a sweeping jog, his head vertical and his human with a bare amount of contact. Most of the other western horses had their heads near their knees and had to look up through their eyelids in order to see where they were going. It was most disconcerting to watch.

When a canter was called for (by the funny western term “ lope” ) Voltare stepped right into a floaty rear-driven canter. Most of the rest of the class staggered around doing four beats and never really getting into a true canter. Some of the horses were even cantering with their hind ends two tracking inside of their fronts. It was hideous. And their poor mouths! Every other stride seemed to bring about a hard tug from their humans. Lucky and I glanced at each other in horror! If my human tugged on me like that she would find herself with a more than passing acquaintance with the ground!

While watching we paid some attention to what our humans were saying and came to understand that in some cases the judges did not like how Voltare moves and would placed the head dragging, canted horses over him. I was appalled. First for the poor horses and then for the fact that judges would reward such hideous movement.

Thankfully, it seemed that this was not one of those judges and Voltare won the class. Second place was a lovely Morgan fellow that was ridden by a young female human. We didn’t get to watch too many of the western classes, thank goodness, or I might have found myself with a sympathy colic going on, because we had to finally get ready for our hunt seat classes.

Lucky has come a long way since he arrived here last fall. He is now fat and shiny and has a quiet confidence that bespeaks his easy nature. His human has really bonded with him and has forsworn ever parting from him. He now looks like a very collected, showy hunter with a solid background. We watched him when his division came up and his human did him proud. He got his first blue ribbon! He was so proud and his human was crying up a storm. When the announcer relayed how he was a rescue horse he got a big round of applause!

After a few of Lucky’s classes, and right before my division started, tragedy struck. We were outside of the entrance gate when a big thoroughbred mare was having trouble with her human. The human kept sawing on the reins and the mare reared up, obviously trying to rid herself of the lout. The human responded by whipping her several times across the haunches and in defense the mare kicked out.

It happened so quickly that those of us near the gate could not get out of the way. My human had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of the kick. It was hard too; I felt it through her leg and the saddle. I jumped to the side and the mare swung the other way and lashed out again. By now I was just concerned with getting my human away because I could tell she was injured. Lucky’s human came running up and grabbed my reins, although why she thought I was panicking is beyond me.

Lula’s human came up leading Lucky and Lula and cleared the way around us. My human said she’d rather ride back to the trailer and Lucky’s human kept exclaiming over the hoofprint on her boot.

When we arrived at the trailer Voltare’s human helped mine down. She hobbled over and sat on the side of the wheeled cave. Lula and Lucky were quickly tied up, but I refused to leave my human’s side. Voltare’s human very carefully pulled her boot off and whistled when he saw the purple blotch on her leg. Lucky’s human finally gave in to the fact that I was not going to leave and untacked me where I stood. While we were waiting for Lula’s human to come back with some cold stuff the show manager came up and asked my human what happened. She got an earful. I almost turned roan when I heard the mare’s human described! His poor mother, whatever did she do to deserve such commentary?

Once the show manager got the report on the incident she left, saying some more roan inducing words and giving me the impression the mare’s rider was in serious trouble. Lula’s human returned with a bad of cold stuff and placed it on my human’s blotch. She moaned and I almost fainted in fear that she was dying! She must have realized how stricken I was because she reached over and patted my nose, telling me she was going to be fine. I finally let Lula lead me away to the other side of the trailer.

We returned home a somber group. By the time we arrived at the barn my human could barely hop out of the rattletrap. Lula’s human helped put Lucky and I away, while Voltare’s human unloaded the trailer. Lucky and my human left in one of the rattletraps, I hope to take my human to her stable for the night. I’m sure I’ll find out tomorrow. More later.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dealing with relatives

We are still in barn four while our barn is being re-floored. The barn manager decided once the aisles were level again that they needed to be covered in that black smelly tar stuff. I hope the smell goes away soo,n because the entire area reeks of it. It is so bad that even the cat beast has shown up in our barn, yowling in disgust and spitting at everyone that even looks at him. Nasty thing.

I had two strange revelations this weekend.
I am firmly convinced that humans that can be handled by horses are born and not made. They either have the capacity to interpret signals and understand body language or they don’t. If they don’t then they never acquire it later. For example: My human has a female sibling. This human is nice enough, a little flighty and very vocal. She “loves” me. It’s a good thing horses can’t barf or there’d be chewed hay all over my journal right now.

Anyhow, the human sibling came out to the barn with my human to visit. She does this a few times a season. Not only did she kiss my nose, but she also kissed Lucky, Trooper and Shorty. Trooper rolled his eyes like the snob he is, but since his human lavishes such affection on him all the time I know he was just putting on a show. Lucky looked bewildered at being grabbed and kissed by a strange human, but being a gentlehorse, like myself, he didn’t blow his nose in her face.

Of course I HAD to be brought out into the aisle and gushed over. My human and her sibling brushed me and chatted. It was hard to endure. Unlike the times when my human talks with Shorty’s or Trooper’s owners, where the main gist of the conversation is about us, or other horses, these two talked about NOTHING but other humans. Humans they knew, humans they didn’t know. Humans that star in MOO-VIES, whatever those are. Humans they liked, humans they hated. I’m surprised their tongues didn’t turn blue from over use. It made my ears hurt from the swiveling as they moved around me.

Once I was brushed my human saddled me and led e to the outer paddock. I knew what was coming. I was in for the horrendous chore of giving a ride to someone that has no knowledge of what riding is about. It’s bad enough when the herdmate rides me once in awhile, but the sibling is even worse. My human rode me first and the sibling shouted out non-stop comments about how pretty I was, how cute my human was, how wonderful the weather was. Ugh, I wanted to jump the fence and run away.

My human finally halted me next to her sibling and dismounted. Then she gave her sibling a leg up. Why is it that people that don’t ride always collapse onto the saddle like it is some kind of tree trunk to lean across? This means more weight on me, as well as pushing the saddle over towards the right side. The sibling finally pulled herself upright and poked her feet into the stirrups. Then she grabbed the reins like she was holding a live rat in each hand and was afraid to bring her hands closes to her body. She then clucked to me. I could not restrain the eye roll that had me viewing my own brain.

Off we went, my human walking not too far from my side, and shooting me warning looks that made it very clear to me that if I dumped her sibling I was going to be carrotless for the rest of my life. I sighed and ambled around like an old plow horse and we had no major incidences. Thankfully the sibling does not lug on the reins, instead she grips them tightly, but leaves about a foreleg’s worth of slack in them. I amused myself by imagining what my stable mates would do to her in a similar situation. Shorty and Lucky would probably tolerate her. Trooper and Pebbles would remove her from the human breeding pool.

Things were fairly boring until the sibling went to dismount. Instead of kicking her leg over the saddle and then kicking her other foot out of the stirrup and sliding down, as is proper, she kicked her leg over and stepped down. As her foot hit the ground I heard a loud ripping noise and then she shrieked. I did step to the side quickly and heard another rip, as well as feeling her tug on the stirrup. My human caught my reins and then hurried to help her sibling get her foot loose.

When the sibling was upright, and no longer attached to me, she looked back over her shoulder and wailed like the cat beast. She turned around to show my human her backside and my human almost fell over laughing. The entire rear of her butt covering was ripped open, showing a strange undergarment that was yellow and black tabby spotted and had strange writing on it. What does SEXY mean? We returned to the barn, the sibling trying to walk with her back to me, which was interesting to watch, but kind of creepy. She stopped at my human’s wheeled cave and got out an outer garment and tied it around her waist, letting the ends hang down over her rear. Odd look, but it did cover up the big rip. My human kept breaking into brays and had to stop and wipe her eyes a few times. Her sibling was not amused.

I was quickly untacked, brushed and put away. My human and her sibling kept talking about a dinner with their sire and dam, as well as some other siblings. I wondered if the rest of my human’s siblings were as backwards as this one, and then hoped I would never find out.

Once in my stall I was confronted by my OTHER relative problem. During my talks with Lula, the Arab mare, we discovered that we shared some of the same Arabian ancestors. She was delighted. I was too, until I realized that this made me related to Voltare. Her dam and my dam shared the same grandmother, a Polish mare (I had no idea I had Polish ancestors, I always just thought they were just Arabian) that was imported to this country from somewhere called EWEROPE. (I pray the cat beast does not find my journal, he will torture me mercilessly about my bad spelling if he sees it.) Lula was very interested in my Appaloosa ancestors, and even knew a great deal about them, from her talks with other horses. She stated that we were CUZZINS, which means we are related, but not as close as siblings. Voltare whickered at me nastily and stated that I was no relative of his; I was obviously adopted from a plow horse family. The snotty bugger needs his tail snapped off. My ancestors are just as good as his!
I resisted the urge to be snide back to him, after all, one of us had to show some breeding.

Lula told me to ignore him and that he had a bad case of “high head’ which I took to mean he’s very snobby. He is, and one day I’ll catch him in the turn out pen and show him what a horse descended from the horses that flourished in Old West can do to a delicate creature such as himself. Lula is much more friendly and behaves like most Arabs I know. Voltare must have suffered a few too many kicks to the head as a foal. More later.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Moving day

This week has been filled with turmoil. The barn manager decided to re-floor the barn I stay in and all of us were moved over to barn four. My human came out on moving day and helped the barn manager and Lucky’s human move us over to the other barn. I was not happy. I have been in the same stall since I moved here two years ago.

Not only were we moved, but also our trunks and tack, as well as the kittens in their box. My human had brought her kitten out to visit his sister and brother. My human has named him Goblin, following the strange human begging tradition that Trick and Treat were named after. He has grown quite a bit and is now leggy and very fuzzy. All the kittens were placed in their half-a-trunk and they tumbled around like little beetles, mewing and being cute.

My human led me over to barn four and deposited me in a stall next to a tall chestnut Arab. I was distressed that I would not be between Shorty and Trooper. Instead I ended up next to Lucky and Trooper and Pebbles were on the other side of him, with Shorty across the aisles next to Kressa.

After we were settled in I tried to make conversation with the Arab next to me. I was “informed” that his name was Voltare and that he was “pure Polish”, whatever that meant. I was then regaled with his credentials and exploits and given the impression that he thought rather well of himself.

When he finished speaking the mare across the aisle gave a huge horselaugh. She informed me that her name was Lula and that Voltare was nothing but a snob and a pretender. He whickered at her evilly and kicked his back wall, but she just sneered at him. I decided that perhaps I could spend a few days separated from my previous stall mates, just to hear some juicy barn gossip.

Lula made some more cutting remarks and Voltare went into a rage and started banging his feeder. He then declared both of us cart horses and went into the far corner of his stall to sulk. Lula whickered again and leaned her head over her stall door to tell me more “dirt”.

By now Lucky was leaning over his door, intrigued with the gossip. I must say that Lula is quite a delightful looking mare. She is also Arabian and a bright golden red with a flaxen mane and tail. She was tall for an Arabian mare and very typey. Lucky couldn’t take his eyes off of her!

Lula informed us she was also Polish, but only half, and the other half was just plain old regular Arab. I told her about my Arabian ancestors and we had quite a nice discussion on family lines. Lucky remained enraptured and drooling, staring at Lula’s golden locks. Lula flirted with him a bit, but he was too bashful to even talk back to her. Lula then informed us that Voltare was her half brother; they have the same dam, but different sires. They co-owned the same human and had to share him. Lula snorted at this and stated that she knew she was the favorite. Voltare kicked his walls again and muttered something nasty about “sire was a plowhorse”. Lula snorted and called him a prig.

My human and Lucky’s human returned with more trunks and tack. I could see that it was going to be cluttered while we were staying there. From listening in on their conversation we found out barns one and two were being re-floored and the horses were all being moved into barns three and four. Some of the horses were going to be put in the pastures with sheds during the time the barns were closed and others were going to stay in temporary stalls in the indoor arena. I didn’t realize it was such a big job to re-surface the barn floor, but I guess the barn manager was going to make sure it was done properly.

Foot Ball came in with the last load of stuff and yipped hello to all of us. He sniffed around, slobbered on the kittens and then followed the humans back outside. This made me wonder what the cat-beast AKA Lollipop, was going to do while all the construction is going on. I hope he gets hit with a shovel! I must find a safe hiding place for my journal in this new stall. I must run for now, I can hear the feed carts rolling up. More later.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fun show day!

We went to a local show yesterday and it was really fun. I love it when my human is able to enjoy a show without the stuffy confines of formal dressage. We decided to show hunt seat and do a few fun classes.

Since this was an open show there were all kinds of breeds there, including the tiny little horses that call themselves “minis”. Some bigger horses don’t like minis, but I’ve never had a problem with them. We have two minis that live in barn four and they are cute little things. For the longest time I feared the wheeled monster that chases the grey pony around would get them, but so far they remain uneaten.

Since there was a group of us going we rode over in the barn manager’s huge wheeled cave. I hate this thing! The ramps are really high and you end up riding face to face with the next horse loaded. Trooper, Lucky, Pebbles, Shorty, Kressa and I were loaded in the front and back stalls and then Mariska and Flashy, the Arabs from barn four, were put in the middle stalls. I didn’t think we’d ever get going because Flashy was such an idiot about getting in the wheeled cave.

When we finally arrived it was close to start time so our humans scrambled around, whining and bumping into each other as humans do, and got us all brushed and saddled. Right before we were finished a small human led a pair of darling minis past us, between our wheeled cave and the next one, and Flashy went crazy, sat back and broke his lead, and went galloping off around the grounds. The minis were vastly insulted at his display of stupidity.

Shorty’s human finally caught Flashy and lead him back, sweaty and not the least bit contrite for causing trouble for the rest of us. Our humans mounted up and we headed over to the show rings. This show grounds is set up with two rings that have their rounded ends towards each other. If you stand in the grassy area between the rings you can watch what is going on in both. That is what we did.

Shorty’s human was doing western events; his herdmate had decided she was too nervous to try her English skills out at a show. We watched him do some reining patterns and this funny event where you run really fast around big metal trashcans. What an odd thing to do. Kressa won a few walk/trot western classes. I don’t see how anyone could beat her, she moves so slow moss could grow on her.

Lucky, Trooper, Pebbles and I went in the hunt seat classes. We were all so proud of Lucky when he placed second in a really big class, right behind Trooper. He’s come such a long way since he arrived starved and abused last year. I won a ladies hunter class and a few hunter over fences classes. Pebbles won all the open jumping classes, but then again, she always does. She's fast and has a scope of the fences that even Trooper can't match.

While we were waiting outside the ring for our classes to begin I was able to watch the other show ring. This was where they were having the pony and mini classes. I must say the ponies are outstanding jumpers; some of those small fellows can really pop over a fence and they have taught their humans to stick like ticks.

The minis were showing their humans in hand and it was really fun to watch them gait their humans out and show how well they could turn and stop. After the in hand classes they had an obstacle course class. I had never seen any like this before. The ring crew set up several obstacles; a bridge, a jump, some rails on the ground and a big circle drawn in chalk. The mini would then enter with his human and go through the course in a set pattern. I was amazed at the daring and skill of the minis! How on earth had they trained their humans to do such obstacles and remain so quiet and focused? There was one little palomino mini that had a darling little palomino haired human with him. You could tell he was very proud of her looks and abilities. He lead her through the course and she never put a single foot out of line, nor hesitated. When they finished the course by hopping over the fence they got a huge round of applause! I was so impressed. I must confess to wondering how difficult it is to train a human to work in hand. I doubt I’d have the patience.

Thankfully Flashy and his human stayed on the other side of the ring, so we had no more runaways. When we finally met up again the two Arabs had placed well in their classes, I think it’s called saddled seat, and were pleased with their riders. We were all pleased that our humans had done so well and had enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the show. Shorty did have a few harrowing moments though. His human had participated in something called a “greased pig” contest and as a result he smelled like a sty. Shorty was grateful beyond belief that his human had not won the contest, because he was NOT going to share his stall with a pig, even if it was a prize pig. All in all it was a pleasant day. More Later.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dear Tuffy

I am writing to ask you a very personal question. I'm sure you've never heard this one before.
My human is spoiled rotten. I've spent so much time indulging her whims and giving her everything she wants that I just can't control her any more.
She asks for a lead change and she gets it. She asks for an extension and I immediately comply. I can't seem to say NO! I want to, but she is so cute and helpless that I give in every time.
Because of this I work almost every day. Yet I see other horses in the barn that get out of work by acting nasty, being stubborn and refusing fences.
What can I do? I need a break and I don't need the endless repetitive training.

Worn out and at the end of my rein

Dear Worn,

You need to grow a spine and stop being a stall matt. First off, you're making the rest of us look bad. We don't want to work that hard and neither do you. Secondly, our humans are going to see you and immediately want all of us to be just like you. It's not going to happen.

I have developed my own method for keeping my human respectful and on her toes. I call it Good Horse/Bad Horse and she never knows which one she's going to be dealing with from moment to moment. If I perceive that she is having a bad day I am usually Good Horse, because making her bad day worse means less treats for me. However, if she appears at the barn and is a bit too euphoric I immediately decided to dampen her enthusiasm. Why? So she'll appreciate my Good Horse days.
Because I'm a helpful horse I'll provide you with a few helpful hints to make your owner appreciate your good days and be respectful of when you want to have a bad day.

1) Miss a lead in front of a judge, and do it so it looks completely like rider error. This isn't difficult and makes a real impression on the rider and the judge.
2) Pretend you don't know what a transition it. Nothing like a good session of trotting around the arena like a chicken chasing a bug to make your human wish for one of your good collection days.
3) Lead ropes are for leading. So lead your human exactly where you want to go. Nothing like a good session of walking down the drive while your human tugs futilely on your lead while you graze and swish flies.
4) Remember horses are the rulers. Shun anyone that doesn't believe this.
5) Put the true meaning of lunge in lunging.
6) Forget what whoa means at least once a week.
7) Loading in the trailer is optional unless you're heading home.
8) Group rides mean larger opportunities to act in a manner that will embarass her to her toes. Do a good enough job and you'll never be subjected to another group ride again.
9) Water is a natural barrier as scary and inpenetrable as a wall of fire. Don't cross it unless you're heading home.
10) Bath time is a group sport.

I hope these tips will help you on the start of a new life. Remember the rest of us are counting on you to uphold our standards.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Meaning of Collection

We had a busy day today. The barn manager hosted a riding clinic for the beginner Dressage riders and I got to be used as a demo horse. Trooper’s human took him in the clinic, even though he is really an advanced horse, because she’s working on some of her issues, so Trooper didn’t mind. Lucky and Pebbles were also there, as well as some of the horses from barn four. The surprise entry was Shorty! We were stunned when he walked up.

Shorty is a dear horse. He’s a bit short and plump but has a good heart and he’s a bold fellow. He’s a good friend and a great trail companion. His human is what other humans call a “cow boy”, which is a term that confuses me because he looks nothing like a cow, or even a boy cow. This cow boy also has a new herdmate and she’s the reason Shorty arrived decked out in an English saddle to learn about Dressage. Shorty rolled his eyes at me and then looked stoically ahead. I could tell he was embarrassed, but willing to go along with the human on his back.
The human giving the clinic was unknown to me, but it seemed all the humans in our group recognized his name. He was a shorter human and had one of those funny pieces of hair over his lips. Odd custom, I can’t imagine how one would graze with such a thing.

We all started out on the rail, single file, at a walk. After several rounds of him yelling at all of us we started trotting and finally cantered. He really started picking on Shorty’s human and I could catch glimpses of Shorty’s ears pinning.

He finally pulled the class into the middle of the ring and had Trooper and I do demos of some lead changes and transitions. Trooper does the move beautiful downward transitions I’ve ever seen. I was proud of my human for getting on her cues on our lead changes. She really has come a long way. We returned to the center of the ring and the instructor started asking individual riders to go to the rail and work. Things went fairly well for a while. He was fixing riders’ legs and their hands or telling them how to cue their horse.

Then something I feared would happen occurred. Shorty and his human went out to the rail and the instructor immediately started complaining about the rider’s lack of contact. I cringed, as did Lucky standing next to me. Contact with the bit should be so minimal and such an illusion that the horse feels as if a thread were being pulled. If humans only realized how sensitive our mouths are and how much we feel just from a finger twitch. We watched in growing horror as the instructor kept shouting at Shorty’s rider to increase her contact and drive the horse forward.
The contact increase, but the drive was lacking, as Shorty got slower and slower. I felt my human shifting uncomfortably and realize she was not happy about the situation either.

Finally, the instructor called Shorty back in to the center and asked the human to dismount. He then announced that he would show her how to achieve proper contact. I heard Lucky’s human say a few roan-inducing words under her breath and mine tensed up so much I had to root the reins away from her.

The instructor mounted and turned Shorty back to the rail. He was explaining what he was going to do to the group of riders, all the while showing the different hand and leg positions. By now Shorty had dropped his head and his eye had a decidedly stubborn cast. I think people underestimate horses like Shorty a lot of times. They are smaller, but very strong and catty on their feet. And though they are small they cannot be bullied.

Once on the rail the instructor set his legs on Shorty’s sides and pushed him forward. Shorty extended a little, but his head was getting very stiff and he wasn’t really using his rear end. Had I been able to I would have covered my eyes with my hoofs. Every few steps Shorty would slow down and tuck his head. He’d also drop his hips. This resulted in a flurry of kicking from the instructor as he drove his seat into the saddle. He must have kicked too hard at one point, because Shorty lifted into a canter and went down the rail, head tucked, and tail wringing.

The instructor did what most humans do when confronted with a speeding horse; he snatched at the reins and sat back. Shorty stopped like a wall had dropped down in front of him. He sat down so hard I swear his hocks hit the dirt. The instructor went up on his neck with a thud and we could hear the air whoosh out of him. When he was finally able to sit back up he gathered the reins and made as if to pull Shorty away from the rail. He then found himself spinning like a small whirlwind, clinging to Shorty’s neck for dear life. We watched in horror as the poor human clung to the side of the quickly rotating horse, unable to stop the spin or let go for fear of being trampled. Shorty finally stopped spinning and then he proceeded to back several steps very quickly. The human was draped over his neck like a large rumpled horse blanket that has lost its leg bindings. Shorty had the decency to wait until the human was upright and in the saddle again and then he very sedately walked back to the group and stood next to his human’s herdmate.

The instructor, by now an alarming shade of red, dropped off the side of the horse, almost collapsing when his feet hit the ground. When he was able to stand upright he offered a one-sentence explanation for his failure to achieve collection: Reining Horse.
I could feel my human’s legs vibrating against me and knew she was silently braying. Lucky’s human had to slip off and pretend to check the girth she was so amused at the discomfiture of the instructor. The instructor finally recovered what was left of his dignity and sent us all back out to the rail. He offered a few words of advice to Shorty’s rider, but didn’t mention anything about contact again. Wonder why? (nicker)

We returned to the barn tired and sweaty and all of us got a refreshing rinse off. Shorty was fairly morose until his human’s herdmate kissed him on the nose and called him the best horse ever. He perked up considerably after that. We all got carrots and a lot of petting. Trooper’s human asked questions of the other riders about certain maneuvers. She really is a nice human and I’m glad Trooper has finally found someone he can get along with. I think his biggest problem is that he is so well trained, and most humans won’t listen to his advice. But isn’t this the problem with most horses that undertake training a human? More Later.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What's in a name?

The cat beast has been unbearable lately. He is incensed about the new kittens ( he rudely informed me of my misspelling after reading my journal over my shoulder). He has hissed and spat at them every time he sees them out. The barn manager has created a bed for them in an old tack trunk, which is too deep for them to climb out. The lid is missing so we can see into the bottom and watch them. The humans also take them out to play with when the horses are all in their stalls. They are cute little balls of fluff and very playful. The barn manager has named them Trick and Treat after some strange human custom. Trick is the solid black one and Treat is a light chestnut with stripes.

After the humans left this evening, and before it got too dark, we horses stood at the corners of our stalls and talked about the kittens and our humans. Trooper and I had our stall guards up, so we could see into the aisle. Pebbles has a stall door that is missing the grate, since one of the students tied her horse to it and then spooked it backwards. The grate has been removed, so Pebbles can stick her head out. Shorty and Lucky had to content themselves with peering through the bars.

While we were talking the Jack Rustle Terror dog came up and sat down outside of Pebble’s stall. This surprised me because he rarely talks to us, more often then not he is running around yapping and tormenting the cat beast or chasing the rattletraps down the drive way. He stood on his hind feet and looked into the kittens’ trunk, and I was afraid for them until he leaned down and licked their heads and yipped at them. They purred and seemed to enjoy his attentions so I ceased worrying.

We discussed their rather odd names and the Jack Rustle Terror Dog informed us that they were named after a human custom that involves going to different human dwellings and begging for treats. What strange behavior! I’m a rather accomplished beggar, but I can’t imagine going to another barn and asking a strange human for food. Shorty seemed very intrigued by the idea; I could see the greed in his eyes.

The dog yipped as he does when he finds something funny and then told us that his own name came from another human custom of chasing each other around and fighting over a ball. His name was Foot Ball. How strange humans can be, especially when owned by animals.
This led us to a discussion of our “registered” names and our barn names. My barn name is of course Tuffy, but my registered name, the one that tells my ancestry, is Coborr On The Spot. My grandsires were famous horses in the Arabian and Appaloosa breeds. I also have a smattering of Thoroughbred ancestry. Pebbles said that her barn name and registered name were not so different since her registered name is Sand Pebbles. Shorty spoke up and said his registered name was He’s Dun Magic, something that he gagged over every time he heard it announced. Trooper sighed and said his registered name was So Gallant. He despised it and liked his barn name much more. Lucky neighed and said he didn’t remember his registered name, and would probably have to wait until the next show to find out what it was. We all agreed that his human would probably use it at the next show and removed the mystery.

We heard some faint hissing and looked up in the rafters to find the cat beast staring down at us with disdain. The kittens huddled together and Foot Ball moved closer to them. The cat beast hissed again and Foot Ball yapped back at him, then he glanced around and asked us if we knew the cat beast’s real name. We were all blank, having never heard him called anything but Kitty, or various roan inducing words used when one of his “surprises” was found in someone’s tack trunk.

The cat beast yowled in a rage and hissed some more, which only set Foot Ball to yapping with amusement. He looked at all of us and said: His real name is Lollipop. We remained blank looking until Foot Ball explained that a lollipop is a human treat made out of sugary stuff, formed into a ball and put on a small white stick. He said the cat beast was such a fat kitten with such a long slender tail he looked like something round on a stick, so that is how he got the name. We all looked from the dog to the cat, each trying to picture the long rangy beast as a fat round kitten and I’m sure we all failed. He noticed our inquiring looks and hissed even louder, making threatening growls. He finally stalked off amid more threats and abuse. Foot Ball went off into a barrage of hysterical yaps and that set us off. I’m afraid we got quite noisy with our enjoyment of the cat beast’s ire; shameful to say the least. Shorty snorted several times and repeated “ Fat Lollipop”. I knew he was going to torment the cat with it. Well it was his hay manger at risk, so who was I to interfere? We finally settled down, each lost in his, or her, own thoughts, about humans and their vagaries. More later!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dear Tuffy,

I am almost embarrassed to write you, I'm sure no one else has this problem. My human is a complete dolt. She coddles me and baby talks to me and like a sugar cube addict I take everything she gives, but I don't respect her or listen to her. In fact I walk all over her and ignore most of the stuff she tells me. I am ashamed to admit it. I used to be so disciplined and a true competitor, but her slack ways have led me down the bridle path to gluttony and laziness.
The sad thing is that I can sense her frustration with me, but she keeps "feeding" my poor behavior by rewarding every bad thing I do, and trying to "reason" with me with no show of control. I love her, but I resent what she is enabling me to become. What should I do in order to fix my human before it is too late?

Out of Control and Hating It

Dear Out,

I suspect that the only fix for your human would be to lend her a spine or break her toes with a well placed foot. She's got to be taught that respect must be earned and it does not go hoof and hand with love. You have got to quit rewarding her bad behavior with slobbering greed and insincere affection. Buck up big guy and turn down a few carrots. Show that you are a horse with integrity and refuse to take the easy trail. If you don't you may find yourself getting shunted off to a very stern taskmaster and your easy life will truly be over. Just tell yourself everyday that there are 12 Hoofbeats to a Better Life. Every step you take towards solving your own dilemma will make you a happy healthier horse.
I also recommend you start nipping her when she hand feeds you. Nothing brings a human back to their senses like a few teeth marks.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Milk of Human Kindness

Something strange happened yesterday, and I still haven’t determined if I am pleased or not. We were all in the barn during the afternoon, because the smoke monsters were dragging the arenas. Lucky and Pebbles were being brushed in the aisle, and my human was cleaning tack on the big center rack. Trooper was dozing in his stall when his young human rushed into the barn squealing with excitement. All of the humans clustered around, looking at something she held. Then they hurriedly put Lucky and Pebbles back in their stalls and rushed out of the barn. We all looked at each other in confusion and Trooper was rather miffed that his human didn’t even greet him before rushing off.

The group returned shortly thereafter with a large box. They deposited this in the aisle and then scattered around looking for stuff. Thankfully, my stall had the door open, with the stall guard up, so I was able to stick my head out and see what was in the box.

Imagine my surprise to see several small versions of the cat beast! Oh horrors! I heard a nasty hissing overhead and looked up to see the cat beast staring down from the rafters with a very horrid look on his face. I re-examined the fuzzy balls in the box and I have to say they were intriguing. There were several colors, from solid black to one marked like a bay pinto pony. They had round little faces with bright eyes and pink noses. I looked from them to the cat beast overhead and can only determine that perhaps the cat beast had met with an accident earlier in his life, because there is no way he could have ever been that cute. He noticed my look and hissed at me; I now fear for my hay manger.

The humans returned, carrying towels, bottles of white stuff and chattering excitedly. From what I could understand Trooper’s human had found the small creatures known as KIT TINS (sp?) under a bush at the end of the farm drive; a wheeled rattletrap had killed their mother! (How sad!) The barn manager walked up and ooohhhed and ahhhhhed with the other humans; taking one of the little beasts into her hands to examine it.

I was horrified to see my human and Lucky’s human filling up the syringes with the white stuff from the bottle! Surely they weren’t going to stick the KIT TINS and fill them full of liquid. Everyone grabbed a syringe and picked up a KIT TIN and to my amazement stuck the end of the syringe in their mouths. The little creatures ceased mewing and were soon purring loudly and pawing their handlers. It was intriguing to watch, but I am grateful horses would not lower themselves to behave in such a manner. Soon all the humans were sitting on trunks or bales in the aisle, feeding their furry charges. I admit to a bit of jealousy watching my human croon over the little beast. There were seven of them and while I felt sorry for the loss of their mother, I did wonder what was going to happen to them once they were fed.

I glanced around and noticed the other horses pressed up against their stall fronts, staring at the baby creatures and the humans. I’m sure they were as mystified as me. When I listened into the humans’ conversation again I was appalled to find that they were claiming the KIT TINS and intended to keep them! My human was going to keep a KIT TIN! Had she no shame or loyalty? Trooper sighed and shook his great head, obviously resigned to the fickle and flittering affections of such a young human. He was resigned, but I was worried! How could my human choose another to love! I discounted her herdmate, because he rarely intruded into our alone time. I was heartbroken.

Once the little beasts were fed the humans replaced their chosen KIT TINS in the box, having to return to the care of us poor neglected horses. The barn manager said she would baby sit while the others rode. This confused me! Why go to the trouble to feed them if she was only going to sit on them later? How cruel! We were saddled quickly and left the barn area for a short trail ride. I’m afraid that Lucky, Trooper and I commenced eye rolling and snorting every time we heard about how cute the little beasts were. Pebbles eventually got so tired of us that she accused us of being a bunch of overgrown weanlings. As if!

We returned to the barn a rather subdued herd. We were quickly brushed and put away, while the barn help was rolling the big feed carts down the aisle. The barn manager stated that she was going to keep the last two KIT TINS, which no one else could take, as barn cats. Oh NO! Like we needed another cat beast in the barn. When she announced this the cat beast yowled and spat down at us. The barn manager called him a bad word and said some rude things about his ancestors.

My human approached my stall and held the little fuzzy creature up to the barns. I narrowed my eyes and looked at the hated thing. It was mostly black with white stockings, a blazed face and a black dot in the center of its pink nose. As I glared at it, it reached through the bars and brushed my face with its soft paw. Then it started purring again. I have to say my heart melted. It was cute, and quite helpless. I realized that a large noble horse, such as myself, had no right to be jealous of such a small needy creature. I nosed it again and it purred even louder. My human whickered a bit and then snuggled it closer. She also reached through the barns and patted me, then kissed my nose. Fickle creature, she was back in my good graces again!

The barn manager picked up the box with the remaining KIT TINS in it and carried it to the tack room, crooning and whispering to it as she walked. The cat beast made rude noises overhead, like he was hacking up a rather large hairball. He stalked down the aisle rafter, growling and swatting things with his paws. I almost sympathized with him until I remembered how he had stolen my journal. Served him right to have two new cat beasts in the barn!
It will be interesting to watch them grow. My human took hers back to the barn she lives in with her herdmate. I wonder how he will accept having another competitor for his affections. More later.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Unnatural Horsemanship

I have been remiss in my writing, but with good reason. The cat beast hid my journal! The foul creature has delighted in sneaking peeks into it and spreading my heartfelt thoughts and dreams all over the barn. I caught the little nasty beast pawing through my manager and nipped his tail quite hard. He retaliated and stole my journal, hiding it up in the loft. I got it back only because the cat beast had made our resident loft raccoon mad, and the masked brute returned my journal to me to spite the cat. Such is the sordid underworld of the barn.

Now that I have my journal back I can once again record my thoughts. I have reflected on my personal preferences lately and there is no doubt I am an “English” style horse. I much prefer the equipment, events, and even attire for my human. We have taken a few forays into other styles of riding, but I find them both heavy and restrictive or simply beneath my dignity. ( the bareback swimming I was recently subjected to is a prime example)
However, I’m not a snob. Some of my very good friends are western horses. Shorty is a personable fellow, despite his short bulky body. He’s a cheerful horse and has tolerated indignities that Trooper or I would never endure. For instance, his human frequently comes out to the barn wearing this long black coat. It almost drags the ground. This thing flaps in the wind like a crow’s wings and frequently startles horses with less fortitude than myself. He also wears a head covering that is like a mushroom and spurs that give me nightpeoples, although Shorty swears they are just for looks.

Shorty and his human frequently go to events involving cows and big gutted men that spit brown juice and talk with something my human refers to as a “twang”. They scare me and I live in fear that one will ask to ride me. Recently Shorty returned from one of their “events” and told Trooper, Lucky and I the oddest story. It seems that Shorty’s human enrolled in a “natural” horsemanship clinic. Is there “unnatural” horsemanship? We were all mystified.

Shorty explained. It seems that there is a human that believes that chasing a horse until it sweats and almost falls over in exhaustion is a good idea, and makes a bond between them. Lucky’s mouth hung open in a most unbecoming fashion upon hearing this. Lucky has seen a lot in his varied and disorganized life, but this was a new one to him.

Shorty elaborated further. Once the horse is exhausted and can run no further the human waved this stick around, trying to get the horse to respond to the stick. I’m afraid we were nothing but a herd of blank looks at this point, so confused were we by what he told us. Shorty snorted and continued. Once the human waved his stick enough to convince himself the horse was too tired to move he commenced to saddle and bridle the horse. This was done with a lot of talking and mystical allusions, most of which Shorty did not understand. Once the horse was tacked up the human mounted and prodded the horse into staggering around the ring. Several of the humans watching applauded and talked about how wonderful it was that a horse was trained in such a short time. Shorty said his human acted quite disgusted and refused to offer Shorty up as a “demo” horse, whatever that is.

We were mystified by such odd behavior and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out why a human would act in such a manner. Usually humans want us to stand still so they can catch us. Shorty said he heard a few people express distaste for the method and say that is caused more problems than it solved. Shorty also expressed the opinion that most of the people that seemed raptly interested in it appeared to be new to being owned by horses. I can only hope my human does not take up this foolishness. I refused to be chased unto exhaustion just for some crazy training gimmick. If she wants to join up with me she needs to provide food. More Later.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The crazy things people do......

Trooper has a new human. The girl that he tried out really suited him so now she belongs to him.
She is cute, as humans go, and very polite and respectful of the rest of us. She had originally trained at another barn, but she moved over to this one after she realized Trooper would be happier around his old friends.

She came out to the barn the other day and brought another human female with her. This female was not a horse person, we could all tell in an instant, but she was professing love for us and wanted to meet her friend's new horse.

I try not to be a judgemental horse, but some of the things humans do to themselves are absolutely scary. This girl had at least three different colors in her hair and resembled a rainbow porcupine more than anything. That wasn't the worst of it. Her ears were layered with those metal dangly things that most human females wear, but they were bigger and more dangly. I can't imagine any self respecting horse poking holes in himself just for appearances.

The ear things were not the worst of it. Trooper and I were cross tied out in the aisle, facing each other, so I could see this human very clearly. She had a huge ring of metal through her lower lip and it sticking out quite far. It was big enough to clip a lead rope to, and indeed I wondered if that was the purpose. However, I have never seen a human led with a rope, so I suppose not.
Trooper and I were both trying to not stare. Shorty and Lucky had no such reservations. They were pressed up against the barns and whickering comments that had me hard put not to whinny with laughter. They are incorrigible!

Trooper's human seemed unaware of the potential danger that these metal dangly things could cause, but we horses knew that they were nothing but trouble.

We ended up in the lower round ring. My human was just giving me a light ride, and Trooper's human was merely stretching his legs, and showing him off for her friend. The moment all of us horses dreaded arrived and sure enough the friend wanted to sit on Trooper's back. She was wearing those open foot things and very short leg covers. It was not appropriate and I could see Trooper gritting his teeth. He'd been through this before.

Thankfully his human had the sense to lend her helmet to her friend. My human and I had halted so she could tighten the girth and we saw what happened quite clearly.

Trooper's human was giving her friend a leg up and typical of most beginners the friend leaned too far forward and dragged her front over the neck of the horse. Sadly for her Trooper has a very thick mane and her lip ring hung in it. Her weight was pushing her over and the ring was firmly caught. It made a nasty rip, although it did not pull all the way through. Trooper was stalwart and never moved, even with she was struggling to free herself. My human leaped off of my back and ran over to help. It took both her and Trooper's human to free the friend. Trooper had blood all down his neck and shoulders. Thankfully Lucky's owner drove up and offered to take Trooper's human and her friend to the human veterinarian. My human led us both back to the barn and untacked us, muttering all the while about the strange things humans do to themselves.
I couldn't agree more. I can only hope that the style doesn't catch on and us horses find ourselves adorned with bright studs and metal dangly things. More later.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Humans, I'll never understand them!

I am so remiss in my writing. I have had the most horrible personal experience lately and was simply too distressed to record the events until now. My human, whom I have always treated well and considered a member of the herd, betrayed me in a way I still find shocking.

In the past few weeks my human and Lucky’s human have been discussing something called a “getaway”. Lucky and I were both unfamiliar with the term and quite puzzled as to what a “getaway” entailed. Oh, how I wish we had stayed ignorant of what one was.

Two weeks ago the two humans loaded us up in the smaller wheeled cave and we traveled for a long time, until well after dark. I hate traveling in the wheeled cave, but even the enclosed space could not keep out the changing smells and sounds. When we arrived at our destination I could smell water, salt and the mucky nasty pond smell that we find in the lower pasture. Lucky and I were alarmed and both of us had the sudden fear that instead of going to a show, as we first thought, we were being taken to the “place of the double deckers” and disposed of. We were shivering when we were unloaded and I must admit I was extremely worried.

It was too dark to see where we were, but we were soon led to a dimly lighted stable. I use stable in the loosest term. It was in reality a small shack with two box stalls created out of rough boards. Our humans were chattering excitedly and seemed very happy to be there. Lucky and I were less happy and still concerned. We were soon in stalls, brushed and fed and then the lights were turned out and we were left to our frightened thoughts, all alone in the dark.

We both spent a sleepless night and when morning came we were surprised to see our humans in the barn right at dawn. That shock was followed by another one! For some reason our humans were almost naked, like baby barn rats. I was stunned. Granted my human is considered a rather attractive filly by others, and myself, but I was unused to seeing so much bare skin. When she comes to the barn she is usually wearing riding clothes and is quite well covered. Lucky’s human was similarly undressed and I must admit both of them were quite glowingly pale. It was disturbing. My human had small pieces of cloth covering her upper and lover body parts, whereas Lucky’s human had a stretchy solid piece that covered her from chest to upper thigh. They had on small rubbery foot coverings and each carried a large toweling cloth. We were quickly fed and brushed while we ate. I could sense the excitement that both humans had and Lucky could too. He kept giving me worried looks, but alas, I could not console him since my own fears were so great.

We were soon bridled and led from the stable, where our humans set about shocking us further. We were draped with the large towels and then mounted from a large block. I was shocked. I have been ridden bareback before, but always in proper form with my human properly attired. Lucky seemed less surprised at the riding arrangement, but he has led a more diverse life than I have.

We were ridden down a sandy path and then around a large sand hill. I had never seen such a thing and snorted several times in alarm. Lucky settled down and seemed content to walk quietly, absorbing the surroundings with little anxiety. I must confess that I could not stop my feet from jigging and several times I almost found myself spooking like an untrained colt. As we came around the hill I got the shock of my life! I confess I did spook and almost fell over spinning around. Lucky stoppedm, and thankfully remained still, because it is the only thing that saved my human from coming off. We ended up pressed against Lucky and she pushed herself upright by using his rear end. She was braying and nudging me to go forward, but I could not make myself move. In front of us was the largest body of water I had ever seen! It was endless, rolling and noisy, covering the entire horizon. I stood shaking until Lucky’s owner nudged him away and he walked toward the water. I followed along out of fear, afraid to lose sight of my only friend.

We entered a huge sandy area and walked toward the water. Well truthfully, Lucky walked and I staggered along like a horse that has had too many fermented apples. As we approached the edge of the water I could see large groups of white birds and some nasty scuttling things like big crusty spiders running along the wet sand. It was disgusting and when one of the nasty spider things got near my front feet I reared in fear. My human grabbed me around the neck, still braying in that way humans do when they find something funny. Lucky ignored the giant spiders and when his human nudged him he trotted off as if nothing was wrong. I deduced that he had probably hit his head several times as a foal and his behavior was the result of long term after effects. I skittered after him, trying to avoid the spider things and touching the cold slimy water.

The humans brayed some more and then to my horror Lucky’s human turned him into the water and rode him out away from the dry sand. Fool that he was he WENT. I halted very quickly and reared again, refusing to enter the nasty cold stuff. Lucky whickered and continued out until he was chest deep. He was obviously crazy, like horses get when the sticker man gives them the dancing carrot shot. My human kept urging me into the water and I was finally able to get in fetlock deep without shuddering. What a horrible experience! I was surprised to see that Lucky seemed to enjoy himself. He even pawed and splashed the nasty water onto me. When he came back closer to shore he suddenly lay down and rolled in the wet sand. I was horrified! I was raised to be a gentlehorse, not some mud rolling farm animal.

We spent the morning on the sand and in the water, although I never went deeper than my knees. We returned to the “stable” by noon and were hosed off and bedded down. Our humans were not as pale when we returned, but they did seem relaxed and quite happy. I can’t help but be confused by their behavior. Most of the time our humans seem to strive for cleanliness and order, but when put near large bodies of water and endless sand they seem to revert to some primitive form that enjoys frolicking in dirty water, sand and sweating like a workhorse.
Two days later we returned home. I was never so glad to get in the wheeled cave in my life. Lucky said he was sorry to head home, although he did miss the grass pastures. I’ll never understand him completely; his origins are too different from mine. I did thank him for his stalwart assistance during my times of fear. He graciously stated that it had been no trouble.I will recount more of our adventures in my next entry. More later.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hectic start of summer

Things have been so hectic lately. Lucky has put on so much weight and gained so much confidence that his human is going to take him to our next schooling show. It’s a good thing too, because she needs some more training. I hope he can get her straightened out in time.

Trooper has decided to take a young human girl on try out. His imported human was so furious at Trooper and the Cat Beast after his last visit to the barn that he has not been back. The barn manager spoke with one of the girls taking lessons here and she rode Trooper a few times and they got along fine. She’s a tall slender girl, with light hands and a very nice leg. Trooper really likes her and he has relaxed a lot since she started riding him. If she can convince her sire and dam that she is the human Trooper wants then all will be well.

My human has been out in the evenings and we ride until dark. The days are warm and a bit humid, so riding during the middle of the day is brutal. My human was kind enough to trim up my bridle path and shorten my mane recently, so I am a bit cooler. Poor Shorty had to be body clipped. He’s like a small dun puffball, even after he sheds out the worst of his winter coat. Now he is cool and shiny, although still fat. Pebbles was also body clipped and looks stunning. The big grey dapples really stand out now and she is always getting complimented.The Cat Beast has been beyond smug for his part in annoying Trooper’s imported human. Trooper enjoyed it so much he has even allowed the Cat Beast to sleep in his hay manger. I don’t think I would like to be beholden to a cat, especially that one. More Later.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Cat Beast Strikes Again

I really don’t have much use for the Cat Beast. My human fawns on him, brings him treats and pets him when she should be paying attention to me. He also steals my diary and reads it aloud to everyone whenever he gets the chance. On occasion he has left nasty things in my hay bin and my stall. Despite all of his flaws he does have some redeeming moments and he exercised them today.

Trooper’s human came out to the barn today. His arm was in one of those white rock things and he was limping. He left Trooper alone, but started digging through his big tack trunk that sits in front of Trooper’s stall. My human was tacking me up in the aisle so I had a clear view of what happened. The Cat Beast was sitting in the rafters over the aisle. When Trooper’s imported human gathered some stuff up and took it with him down the aisle I could see the Cat Beast narrowing his eyes. I knew he was up to something and hoped my human wouldn’t be finished too soon.

On the next trip in and out Trooper’s human left the lid of the tack trunk open. As soon as he limped down the aisle the Cat Beast sprang down from the rafters and then casually sauntered over to the trunk and climbed in. I knew when I heard the scratching noise that he had just left a very nasty surprise on top of a pair of paddock boots and leather seated breeches. The Cat Beast jumped out of the truck and the walked down the aisle, tail in the air. My human watched him go, and then turned and looked at the trunk. I heard her gasp, but she didn’t walk over to it, so I think she was only guessing as to what happened. Trooper’s human came in and limped back up the aisle. My human suddenly got busy checking my girth and “straightening” me up.

When Trooper’s human reached his trunk and saw what the Cat Beast had left him he howled like the Rat Terror dog does when it gets locked in the tack room. He was trying to hop around, saying roan inducing words and even striking the wall with his white rock thing. Trooper had been in the rear of his stall, his ears pinned, but when he heard his human carrying on he walked to the front and then peered down into the tack trunk. It must have been awful because he gave a huge snort and then backed into the corner, whickering like a crazy horse.

Trooper’s human came up to mine and said some rude things, asking if she had seen the cat and accused her of allowing the cat to spoil his stuff. She told him off. He may be imported, but he understood exactly what she meant. He turned an alarming shade of red and limped back over to his trunk like a whipped dog. I was so proud of her. She huffed a few times and then untied me and led me from the barn. As we walked past, Trooper’s human was carefully pulling his soiled items out of the trunk and I have to admit they reeked. I almost felt sorry for him, but not quite.

We walked out of the barn and toward the mounting block, still hearing Trooper’s whickers and his human’s ranting. As we turned the corner I notice the Cat Beast was climbing out of Trooper’s human’s small wheeled cave; he’d left the windows down. I didn’t even want to know what he did in there! More later.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pride goeth...

As the immortal Shakespur said: A human, a human… my pasture for a decent human. It finally happened, Trooper blew up and pitched his imported human off. It has only been a matter of time. This afternoon Lucky and I took our humans on a nice jaunt around the pastures. It was pleasant to walk, trot and canter without the constraints of fences. When we finally turned toward home we ended up passing the lower dressage arena where Trooper was working with his human. I could tell things were not going well!

As we halted on the knoll above the arena Trooper was circling at the far end. I could see his human was really lugging on the reins and Trooper was dripping froth from his mouth, something he abhors as being so lower level. After they finished the far circle they cut through the middle and came around the near end, intending to make another circle. I could see that the human was jabbing Trooper in the ribs with his spurs and really cranking the reins. Midway through the circle Trooper just lost it. He bogged his head and threw his rear end in the air. A rodeo horse couldn’t have done a better job of bucking. His human lasted a buck and a half and then he was plowing dirt with his pointy face. Lucky and I were trying not to horse laugh when my human jumped off and handed my reins to Lucky’s human. She rushed down to see if Trooper’s human was okay. Lucky’s human took us back to the barn, stalled us and then went and caught Trooper. He was a sorry sight. His reins were broken, his mouth ripped, probably from stepping on the reins, and his sides were already welting up from spur marks.

Lucky’s human was furious. She said several things that almost made my coat roan out they were so harsh. She removed Trooper’s bridle and haltered him and then apologized for not untacking him. She untacked Lucky and me and then went to get the barn manager, leading Trooper along with her.

We heard sirens and I looked out the stall window to see the white-wheeled cave with the flashing lights coming up the hill. That thing scares me to death! I’ve never seen one eat a horse, but all the humans I’ve seen that went in one ended up coming out with a white rock tube on one of their limbs. The scary thing went past the barn and then the loud wailing noise went quiet.
Lucky’s human returned with Trooper and the barn manager and they untacked Trooper and took care of his injuries. The poor fellow was just miserable. The barn manager and Lucky’s human said some more roan inducing words which made Lucky bury his head in the corner of the stall in embarrassment! He’s such a shy fellow.

My human finally arrived back at the barn. She had blood on her shirt, and at first I was worried that she had killed Trooper’s human, which he richly deserved, but she told the barn manager the nasty fellow had a broken arm, bloody nose and sprained fetlock ( ankel? Or whatever humans call it). The am-bull-ants, which I deduced was the scary white wheeled cave, was going to take him to some place where he would be ex- raid and vetted. I hope they stick him with something.

All three humans stood a long time looking at poor Trooper and talking about his welts. I thought my human was going to throw an even bigger fit than Trooper did, she was so mad. The cat beast came over, walking along the barn beams like the sneaky thing he is, and he listened in, hanging his head down like some fur-covered vulture. He hissed a few times, and I got the impression he didn’t like Trooper’s human either. Most of the time the cat beast doesn’t pass opinions on humans, he feels they are beneath him, but I know Trooper’s human has kicked him before, and the cat beast despises him. I have no doubt he’ll leave a few nasty surprises in Trooper’s human’s tack trunk the first chance he gets.

Feeding time arrived and we all dug into our grain. The barn manger made Trooper a mash, since his mouth was so sore. I know he was grateful; she’s a good human and very concerned about us. Things quieted down after the lights went out and all the humans left. None of us felt like talking. I know Lucky remembers the abuse from his past, and I feel that Trooper fears for his future. I hope he finds a good human soon! More later.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Trooper has returned!

Trooper arrived home last night and he was in a wretched mood. He was led in the barn right after feeding time and made such a fuss. Shorty, Pebbles, Lucky and I are the only ones down at that end of the barn right now, since several horses have left for the spring circuits. Trooper is returning home after the winter in Florida. His imported human was really throwing a fit. We all stopped munching our hay and stared as he shouted at the barn help and kicked things. It was a good thing the barn manager wasn’t there, she’d have put a mucker right in his butt.

Trooper’s human finally left and he started sulkily eating dinner. The rest of us waited for him to calm down, but he never warmed up to us. This morning we found out why.

We all had turn-out together. Lucky was worried since he had never met Trooper before. It was warm today, so before we were turned out Trooper had his sheet stripped off. We didn’t notice anything wrong until he walked past us in the paddock. I thought poor Shorty was going to fall over he was whickering so hard. Trooper had a large heart clipped in his right hindquarter. Lucky stared so hard he dropped the grass out of his mouth. I must say that Pebbles and I were equally shocked, but we hid it better. Once we got done staring at his heart decorated rear end we noticed that his mane was shortened and very uneven and his forelock was cut straight across. Pebbles gave a full body shiver and Lucky backed up a few steps in horror. A paragon of self-preservation is our Lucky.

Trooper got so annoyed by Shorty’s whicker he lashed a nasty kick at him and then cantered off. He missed, but Shorty took the hint and quit whickering. Lucky and Pebbles moved off to the far end of the paddock and Shorty went over to scratch his rear end on the oak tree. I decided to find out what was really bothering Trooper and wandered over to him, carefully.

Poor Troops, he looked so miserable. He was ripping up grass and chewing like the Rat Terror dog does when it get a hold of a piece of hoof clipping. I finally asked him what was wrong and he sighed and looked up. The story he told was so shocking!

It seems he and his human have had a real falling out. His imported human got more and more pushy and demanding. Trooper said that when the draw reins came out he had had enough. He started bucking and over flexing to avoid pressure. This made his imported human very angry and he actually put Trooper up for sale! Trooper was mortified at having such a rude human, but not really distressed at the thought of getting a new one.

From there things went seriously wrong. Trooper was sent to live at a training stable so a teenage girl could try him out. Trooper said she was basically a nice human, just spoiled and lacking focus. One day when her trainer wasn’t around to guide her she decided to “groom” Trooper for their next outing. She clipped a small heart in his hindquarters, messed it up and clipped a bigger one to cover up the first mistake, messed it up and so on, until the heart was a cannon bone wide. Then she decided to trim his mane and used those horrible sharp metal clicky things. Trooper can’t see how bad it looks, but he said he knew it was awful by the reactions of everyone that had seen it. Her trainer arrived too late to save Trooper and pronounced him unfit for the show ring for six months because of his new “look”. Trooper’s imported human arrived shortly afterwards and had a screaming fit. Things got worse from there. Trooper was stuffed into a wheeled cave and they traveled through the night. He said he had the worst nightpeoples that he would end up at a yard with “double deckers” just waiting to eat him. Poor fellow! I assured him that his hair would grow back, and surely he would find a new human soon, one that didn’t use draw reins. We then walked over and I introduced him to Lucky and we all grazed the rest of the afternoons until our humans arrived. None of them said anything about Trooper, but my human was kind enough to give him a pat and a treat. She’s such a sweet human; I’ve trained her well.Trooper’s imported human did not come out that afternoon; I think he was relieved. More later.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A very trying day

Today was a trial for me. It made me question my role as a human keeper. Seriously, it takes so much of my time to deal with her needs. She arrived this afternoon and I could tell right away she was grumpy about something. I have said again and again that she is not to bring that attitude to the barn; it just upsets all of us.

She dragged me in from the pasture, where I had been grazing with Shorty and Lucky. I was rudely put into cross ties and then brushed a little too fast and hard for my taste. I did a few sharp tail switches, which she ignored. I was then quickly saddled and taken from the barn. With nary a moment of warm up my human mounted and we set off down the trail toward the hills. This concerned me, because we didn’t have another horse with us, nor were the other humans paying attention. At least she had the sense to wear her head covering, it’s a known fact human heads are soft.

We went down the trail for a good stretch and her hands were a bit tense. I kept rooting into the bit, hoping that she would get the hint, but she didn’t loosen up. I was just about to give a good pull when we entered a nice clearing. Before I could drop my head she slid off, grabbed me around the neck and started crying. I was so surprised I froze while she cried against my neck. She cried a long time and when she finally quit she started talking to me. I can understand a lot of human talk, but certain words she used confused me. I got the impression she was upset with her other life, the one that doesn’t involve me. She has another job, besides caring for me, but I have never considered it important. Evidently the alpha human at her other job, I think it is male, was a brute to my darling human. I wanted to rend him limb from limb. He criticized my human during a herd gathering and then took one of her brilliant ideas and claimed it as his own. The audacity of the creature! Surely death is too good for such a beast!

I could do little to comfort her, but hug her with my neck and rub my face against her side. I felt so helpless, like a young foal on icy ground. She finally calmed down and we walked along the trail. She talked some more about her other job, and I must say I had to stifle a few yawns at her descriptions; humans can be such silly creatures. When she finally calmed down she mounted back up and we went for a nice slow canter through the woods. I actually heard her doing that human neighing thing and felt her relax. I felt better too, knowing she found comfort in my presence. I don’t understand humans. They take such a huge amount of work, training and time, but in the end you wouldn’t want to be without one of your own to love. By the time we arrived back at the barn we were in accord again, and I knew she could handle anything her other job threw at her. More later.