Saturday, September 29, 2018

Horse Sense... Of Humor

Gary Miller, Author
The horse is one of God's magnificent creatures. But since man and horse (Equus Caballus) became acquainted, possibly as long ago as 3600 BC, the horse became different things to different people. From a beast of burden, to personal transportation, to a companion animal, the horse, even in modern times is still a familiar sight when you take a drive out into the country or watch those western movies or attend your local county fair.

A well trained and well mannered horse can provide a rewarding avocation for both adults and youngsters. We all can learn something from our horses. Learning to ride is a good form of exercise and a very good character-builder. A good horse can also teach you a lot about yourself.

I cannot stress enough however, the need for self-control and a deep sense of compassion toward animals that should be employed when dealing with horses and all animals, for that matter. And I'm glad that most every state in America now has enacted much stricter animal cruelty laws in the past decade or so. It's a pleasure to watch the new breed of modern trainers in action. They know the mind of the horse and have studied its physiology. They get positive results by encouraging the horse to do what comes naturally to the animal.

But while we have compassion for our horses and as they many times do become our companions, they are still an animal weighing in at an average of plus or minus of 1,000 pounds or so, with the old 'fight or flight' instinct still deep down in their inner being. When things go bad, they have the potential to put a lot of hurt on you. They are not kitty cats or puppy dogs. They are horses.

They are still an entertaining creature, however. While some who would add to a horses' intelligence by saying it has a sense of humor might be stretching the point a little, you must admit that they do some humorous things at times.

Horse Sense... Of Humor
I had a Morgan / Quarter Horse mix gelding that sort of fit the description of having a funny bone. His name was Dale.

Although he displayed lots of stamina on trail rides and in western competition events, when he was at his home stable, he had the idea that he should only be ridden once a day. After I would ride him in the morning, I'd turn him out to pasture while I went to lunch or whatever. When I came back, if he saw me walking out toward the pasture with a lead rope in my hand, he would go over to where the tallest cat tails and brush would be and sort of hunker down in an apparent attempt to hide from me.

And when I first got him, he made such a big deal of not wanting to cross over water... even at the narrowest little creek, he would balk and fuss until with enough urging he would then jump across the water, but never walk across. But later on, we (Dale and me) joined a group of riders from the boarding stable, and we loaded our horses into a large livestock truck and headed to a state park that offered miles of somewhat challenging trails. Dale was at his best that day in navigating the trails and even seemed to be enjoying the change of scenery. But then there was a W-I-D-E river to cross. Oh Oh, Dale must have been thinking. Water! I Don't Like To Cross Over WATER!

I kept urging him and turning him around, and had him approach the river from different angles, but it looked like it was going to take most of the morning to get across that river. Until Dale realized that hey... all my friends have left me behind. So, the next cue with my heels and my verbal command really put him in gear. Evidently, Dale thought that he could jump all the way across that river, because he made that 'one giant leap' for all horse kind and landed way out in the middle of the river.

Then he just stood there for a few seconds to look around, and then just calmly walked over to the other side as if he had done it every day. After that, he never balked at a water crossing again.

Yep, those 1,000 pound animals are amazing and entertaining creatures, I'd say. --Gary Miller

   



DISCLAIMER: Gary Miller is NOT an expert or a professional in any of the subjects and activities presented in his blog posts. "My comments are based on my views gained from past experiences and from studies related to these subjects and activities, and upon input given to me by people (both professional and non-professional) who have also been involved in these activities," says Gary. "My posts are NOT to be interpreted in any way as advice. Anyone who chooses to participate in any of the activities represented in my posts should seek the advice of professional trainers and instructors."







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