A long time ago, a rider saddled up her Palomino Quarter Horse to go for a lovely, peaceful ride out in the prairie near her homestead. In preparation for her ride, she securely tied a gray Arab-mixed gelding with a long rope to a concrete block so the horse could gently graze the hillside, while she and the gelding’s friend, the Palomino, left the vicinity. Having traveled across a sizable mass of land, faint sounds were echoing to her. She and the Palomino paused, and continued to hear muffled sounds that sounded like someone hollering. Turning her horse around, she saw her son and husband waving their arms and shouting. Coming straight towards her and the Palomino at full speed was the gray gelding. He had a flying concrete block trailing behind, and it looked like a malfunctioning flying saucer repeatedly soaring in the air, and then crashing to earth!
People and horses are social animals, and horses simply do NOT do well when a partner is removed from their presence. The horse is more interested in partnering than digesting food! For example, the Morgan breed came into being simply because a man by the name of Justin Morgan walked from Randolph, Vermont to Springfield, Massachusetts to collect some money he had loaned to an old neighbor by the name of Farmer Beane. Justin was a singing schoolmaster, and wanted to buy a harpsichord for his singing class.
Not having the money, Farmer Beane asked, “Would you take a colt instead of cash?” After some time, a decision was made to take the larger colt by the name of Ebenezer. After all, the little colt by the name of Bub was only a pint measure, and in the Vermont hills of lumberjacking, a strong horse was desired. Leading the larger colt down the road, Justin began his 100 mile journey home. Little Bub would not have this nonsense! He jumped the fence to partner with his friend Ebenezer. Farmer Beane waved his arms and hollered, “Take both of em.”
This little horse became the father of the American breed known as the Morgan horse. His willingness became an American legend. Justin re-named Bub “Figure.” Go figure, this runt that didn’t look like it would amount to anything could walk faster, trot faster, run faster, and pull heavier logs than any other horse in all Vermont!
Remember, when you are separating one horse from another, secure the horse in a safe place. You might save yourself some pennies on vet bills. Or perhaps start a new breed!
As the gray gelding was quickly closing the gap between himself and his Palomino friend, a solution to the danger of the flying cement block was quickly needed. “Face and position” became the strategy of the rider. She would face the potentially deadly object, and position her horse and herself to use her foot and the bottom of her stirrup to stop the cement block from touching her horse. WHAM! Mission accomplished! Now she was on the back of a runaway horse! Losing centeredness from the jolt of the impact and the response of the horse, she knew she was coming off. As the ground was getting closer and closer to her body, a thought occurred, ‘relax.’ She chose to relax, and draping over the side of the horse, she was able to get in sync with the rhythm of her horse. In doing so, she was able to recover, re-center and bring her horse safely to a halt. No injuries accept a swollen ankle on the human.
The moral of the story is this: humans need to understand the horse. In doing so, there will be less “haunting stories” between horses and humans!
By: Deb Kitchenmaster