Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sigh, Friday Horse Blogging



Murphy's Law operates on high with horses. The point of grooming a horse every day isn't to make him or her lovely. Instead it's a means of checking for damage and potential vet bills.

Nikster managed to ding his face yesterday. It's not serious; just a scrape. He thinks it gives his pretty boy looks a rugged edge.

Put a horse in an empty, padded room and it would find a way to hurt itself. Horses are not for the squeamish. Expect gory flesh wounds. Expect to be on a first name basis with the vet.

Most non-horse people think equines are big, indestructible beasts who will bravely go where no man or woman has gone before. Truth: Horses are fragile chicken shits.

Thousands of years ago, there was a cute, little, dog-like critter called Eohippus (Hyracotherium). Eohippus had a problem. He was tasty. And the only way to stay off a saber tooth tiger's dinner table was to be a bit paranoid. Millennia passed, and horse evolution ran its twisty path from little Eohippus to Equus caballus, the modern horse.

The modern horse has few predators, except humans, but he's still paranoid. Horses can be taught to ignore scary things like gunfire, knights in shining armor, and small children (horse eating gnomes). But it takes training and time. Some horses are braver than others. In horse parlance, however, "brave" equals "stupid" equals "lunch."

The Nikster used to believe trashcans were horse-eating monsters. With clicker training and time, I changed his mind. The training involved getting him to walk up to the trashcan and touch it with his nose. (Of course now, on trash day, we can't make it down the block without him touching every trashcan. It's like riding an obsessive compulsive. RainMan, the horse.)

Why go to the trouble of teaching him to accept trashcans? Well, because when Nik gets scared, his reaction is to turn tale and run with me clinging to his back like a tic. If he's really frightened (and not just "practice" fleeing), he might forget it's me on his back.

"Mountain lion. Yikes! Getitoff, getitoff." And then Pat sails through the air with the greatest of ease, her flight interrupted by gravity. Crunch.

Nowaday, the Nikster's not as paranoid, although context still matters. For example, black plastic trash bags don't scare him in his paddock. A bag lying by the side of the road is still an orange alert menace.

At any rate, spoiled, pet-horses like the Nikster have much worse things to worry about. Like girly bows.

Happy Friday!

 

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