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.