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.


Carrie Giannandrea said...

Oh Tuffy, it is not your fault the sibling human ripped her pants. That happens a lot when the non horsey relatives want a "ride"!

And try to be nice to the snobby Arabian, he might just be to timid to be your friend!

I hope you get back to your barn soon!

Thanks for the laugh

Carrie Giannandrea
Dances with Horses
Formula One Farms

lytha said...


I don't think humans are born understanding horse body language. It's learned. For most of the people reading your blog, this happened so early in life that it probably feels being born with this knowledge, but I am pretty sure that "horse ears back = bad" is not innate.

Once we learn the basics, we can improve over the years to see the subtler signs, and then the even more subtle. Some people can look only at a horse's eye and tell you what he'll do. These people have invested the time to learn the signals cuz they either love horses, or are forced to work with them and it saves their butts to predict how a horse will react.

It's true what you said, a person either has it or not, but I think it's a matter of time invested in trying to learn.

Still learning,


Tuffy Horse said...


Thank you for commenting!

>I don't think humans are born understanding horse body language. It's learned. For most of the people reading your blog, this happened so early in life that it probably feels being born with this knowledge, but I am pretty sure that "horse ears back = bad" is not innate.

I thik humans are born with the ability to learn subtle signs, or they aren't. Kind of like horses are born favoring a right lead, or a left lead as their most natural "side".
Some human's blunder through life and never learn to look at the horse and see beyond the obvious picture of the whole and look into the subtle signals from each section of the horse's bady.
Horses look at humans and get a signal from each of their bodyparts, as well as their speech.
This is why we are not fooled when you try to catch us by hiding the halter behind your back. Although we can be distracted with food.

Tuffy Horse