Things I Am Learning From My Horse
When I am eating my food – do not disturb
I have simple rules in life. I don’t share food unless I don’t like it. It’s mine, all mine, especially if it includes chocolate. If you wanted chips – order chips – the calories still count when your stealing them from my plate. If I am eating lunch at my desk in work while reading a book that’s because I want to be doing it. It is not an invite for randomers to drop by my desk stupidly asking ‘oh are you busy’ and then proceeding to talk shop for twenty minutes as I drop crumbs on their shoes. I am not reading a book because I am lonely or simple, I just like reading a book.
The horse has a more blunt retort to such interruptions. When the horse is eating she is eating. Her head will remain in that bucket until it has been licked clean and then checked twice for leftovers. Any request for adjusting rug straps, lifting her head or moving to another part of the stable is met with an angry swish of her tail which signifies ‘feck off – I’m eating’. Other horses do not attempt to take the horses food they know better. Well -except her best friend who I once, in a heart stopping moment, saw eating some hay that was hanging from the big mares mouth. She is still alive which proves there are exceptions to every rule.
Always Check For Food
Whether it’s a new stable, a horse box or even an unexplored concrete yard the horse will always check for food. Under rugs, at the front of the box, at the edge of an arena, in a strangers pockets- always check.
This philosophy in life has served me well. My handbag and jeep always stock emergency chocolate (mock me all you like but if you get stuck in a snow storm you want to be in my jeep). A recent overdue attempt at cleaning my bedroom turned up a random dairy milk in the bedside locker and a bag of peanut butter M & Ms in a chest of drawers. I’ve pointed out to my other half that hiding chocolate around the house would make me far more inclined to clean it….
If things get in your way don’t let that hold you back
The big mare does not get out of your way. You get out of hers. If something is coming towards her she just keeps on trucking. If something is in the way it will be removed and picked up by the teeth or pawed out of the way. This was clearly the case with the rug hung innocently over the stable wall last week that ended up outside the stable on the ground.
Being hobbit height it is not so easy to get things to move out of my way. I have decided to speak softly and carry a schooling whip. No one messes with the crazy horse girl in the office with a schooling whip beside her desk.
Never miss an opportunity
The little mare has perfected the art of limboing under the top chain of her stable when someone has accidentally left the lower one open. She has had years of practice and now only needs five seconds unsupervised to duck under at speed and trot merrily up the yard. Realising that refusing to be easily caught means a human will bring you food as a bribe means that she now escapes, trots to the top of the yard and waits for food to arrive. Smart move little mare smart move.
I have to admit I haven’t quite figured out how to fully utilise this advice yet. If I can figure out a way to escape from work, run to the farthest corner of the carpark and then wait for my boss to bring me a mcdonalds before I will return to my desk I will be winning. I will keep you posted.
No means No.
The horse does not like hoof oil. The horse has never liked hoof oil. The last time I managed to wrestle a hold of her and get it on her feet she nearly had a meltdown. She pawed the ground, spun around and dug several holes in her bed before standing with her back to me snorting at the wall. Suffice to say I am not in a hurry to put it on her again.
Last week in work the facilities manager tried to take my chair. My trusty – doesn’t hurt my messed up back and has enough space to let me tuck a leg under me while I sit chair. My ‘can lean back without worrying about falling on the floor ‘ chair. I decided to take the horses philosophy and said no. I drew the line at pawing the ground but I found a roll of silver duct tape in my desk (don’t ask okay, I swear I am not an unsub) and used this to secure a post it note to the back of it saying its mine and not to remove it. In a move that was more Ross from friends when he had his sandwich meltdown than Obama style diplomacy but funnily enough I still have my chair.
Multi-tasking is the way forward
The horse can eat and do pretty much anything else at the same time. Last week she wasn’t sure whether to roll on the grass or eat it so she lay down and ate at the same time. When doing a dressage test she will also insist on keeping a close eye on anything happening outside the ring at the same time. Hacking out means she gets to do dragon impressions at anything unusual.
I am unsure if the horse learned it from me or if I learned it from her but eating breakfast while driving, drinking wine while exercising and shoving my phone into my hats harness so I can tack up and talk means I get a whole lot done in a day.