Going through my blog posts, I found this unpublished draft. For those who know the journey of the horse in this story, thought you might enjoy.
I recently had an epiphany. I have them somewhat regularly as I am a constant work in progress. Don’t judge the art before it’s finished.
This little pearl of wisdom has been rolling around in my head for weeks, turning from a fuzzy little wisp of a thought, into something I can finally voice.
Simple isn’t it? Not even original, yet it took me more than a year to learn. I mean REALLY learn, and understand.
In October of 2009 I adopted an 11 year old Arabian Stallion from HSNT, Merlin, had him gelded before bringing him home and have been working on basic skills and socialization ever since. Slowly, I’m kinda busy. That and I’m flying by the seat of my pants as he and I figure this out together.
He’s already broke to ride but it has been years since he’s been ridden. My first priority was to just let him be a horse. And put on weight. He was a stallion for 11 years, meaning, he’s been isolated from others his entire life. And he went through a rough patch for a few years before being rescued. My first priority was to just let him be. To graze on fresh grass, run freely in a large pasture. Eat. Drink. Be merry.
I’m not going to lie, he was kind of a pain in the ass for most of the first year. He has always been incredible with me, he’s very inquisitive and has a great mind.
But he annoys the hell out of the other horses. He gets agitated easily, is very possessive of the mare, gets knocked around a bit and plays a little too rough for my taste with the other gelding. He gets cuts and bruises and bite-marks. Heaven help us if he’s separated from them however.
But oh my, pay him the slightest bit of attention and he just melts in your hands.
When the farrier comes, I stall the horses before he arrives so he doesn’t have to chase them around the pasture….alright then, so I don’t have to chase them around the pasture. Time is money. So the farrier heads straight to the barn and starts working when he arrives. I usually join him when I can (he’s chalk-full of great advice). Last time the farrier came, he started with Merlin. When I went out to join him, he had already trimmed three of Merlins feet. Merlin was in the center of the breezeway, untied, dozing peacefully. He didn’t fidget, pull, shuffle, or even toss his head. This magnificent beast just slept.
I whispered something to the farrier (I didn’t want to wake Merlin, silly huh?) about how far he’s come since his first year. To be sure, he was not this easy going the first few months the farrier came, he was sometimes down right ugly.
The farrier said, “He sure seems to have a lot of horse sense.” And I mumbled my agreement.
And then it hit me.
Wait a minute.
He doesn’t have a lick of horse sense. He has people sense. But he has no idea how to behave around other horses.
He’s socially retarded.
He picks, bumps, rubs, bites, follows, nudges, and basically has no idea when to stop. He has a hard time recognizing the signals from the other horses when its time to quit. He can’t read them at all.
Yet I can go out right now and put ointment in his eye while he rests his chin on my shoulder. And he will sigh as if there’s no better place in the world then to be with me, right there, fiddling with his eyeball.
I’ve relaxed a lot, I can see him now, really see him, for the animal that he is, and the horse he is not. I think he senses it too, he’s even more lovable.
And, as an added bonus, he’s not as big a toot with the other horses, he’s more relaxed around them (for which they are grateful I might add).
I have learned so much from this animal, I often wonder who adopted who.
“…by the love of those I’ve been privileged to rescue..I have been rescued”
So simple, such profound consequences.
See the animal, not the breed.