Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Horses That Live Here

We have some horses on the property.  Four horses; none owned by Boyd or me.  Chappo is a quarter horse stallion.  Paloma is an Appendix mare.  And Rhisper and Muni are Icelandic geldings.   They are all so unique.  Looks, attitudes, training and abilities, along with age and personalities; all as different as their owners are different from each other. 

I’ve learned a lot from having these prey animals on the property.  For one thing, I’ve become more social.  I actually say “Hello, how are ya” to these folks.   And I enjoy the horsey banter.  It is very informational and I feel like I am doing something that is helpful and important to these folks.   I feel a bond with them; a little different with each owner, each horse.

Chappo was the first to come and live with us.  A magnificent quarter horse stallion owned by a family that lives about a mile from here.  Willie and Maria inherited Chappo from Maria’s brother; a rancher in Mexico.  Chappo was a cow horse and he did tricks at family parties for entertainment.  Maria said Chappo loves music and giving rides to children.  He was taught to bow, count, answer the question “Where are you going to put me when I die?”  Chappo would paw the ground as an answer.  He would also sit and lie down with people on board him.  And he dances.

Life is very different for him now.  He lives in a 32 x 24 foot pen most of the time.  He gets turned out to a small pasture once a week and sometimes gets worked out in a round pen.  Willie and Maria do not have enough time for him.  They do not want to geld him and they do not want to sell him.  He is a memento of Maria’s dear brother.  Chappo is 10 years old and overweight.  He is frustrated and often angry.  And he bites.

This is very difficult for me to watch.  I have tried to help Chappo by turning him out, but I am still a beginner and I have some fears – which he does not respect at all.  I’ve been bitten three times; more if you count the ones that did not draw blood or leave bruises.  I know it is my fault that I get hurt.  I have not truly understood horse mentality.  Also, I am a very sensitive person and I have noisy reactions, such as screaming.  Not good in the horse world. 

I think I act more like a prey animal than a predator. 

I want to establish Lead Mare status.  Then the horses will know I am in charge and they will act up less and be more pliable with me I think.   I think I need to learn more about herd mentality and see how physical the horses get with each other when establishing rules within the herd.  Then I won’t feel like a mean person when I reprimand or discipline them.

Paloma was the second horse to arrive.  She is a 5 year old palomino appendix (quarter and thoroughbred cross).  She is taller than Chappo and her legs are thinner.  She is less coordinated.  She is aggressive regarding her food.  She likes to get her way and she paws the ground to get your attention.  Sometimes she shakes her head around and sometimes she pins her ears back.  But most of the time she just stands there, unless her owner, Raul, comes to work her, go for a ride or feed her and clean her stall.  She is a pretty girl.  She was attacked by pit bulls when she was younger and they left scars all over her body.  It is amazing that she does not hate dogs now.  She does, however, not let them get too close to her – she will chase them away.  The chickens like to take dust baths in her pen.  I think she likes that.

Raul and Willie were both horsemen in their younger days.  They are in their 40’s now and have to work regular jobs, so they cannot spend as much time as they would like with their horses.  They are both nice men.

The third pen is occupied by Rhisper and Muni, two Icelandic geldings.  They are short – pony sized, but they are stout.  Icelandics have very thick bone structures and are quite strong.  They are gaited horses and do something called the Tolt.  I rode Rhisper and experienced the tolt – it is grand!  So smooth.  We used English and Australian saddles.  There was much more human participation in the ride because more balance is involved.  I enjoyed it very much.

Cindy and Paul own these two boys.  Cindy and Paul are from Idaho and moved here in the last year.  They are our age with grown children and some grandchildren.  Cindy and her best friend Cheri work the boys about 3-4 times per week.  Either in the round pen or on a trail ride.  Cheri is a trainer who is trying to get the boys to respond in more conventionally acceptable ways, so that Cindy’s grandkids will be able to ride them safely and perhaps show them if they desire.

These ladies are fun to be around. I learn a lot from them and they are very kind to me.

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