I should have learned a long time ago that fate likes to laugh when you make plans. Sometimes, it likes to laugh a lot. I think it’s currently peeing its pants its laughing so hard.
A week or so ago, a horse person from another blogging platform forwarded me King’s Craigslist posting. I, upon discovering that he was a Tennessee Walking Horse (strike one), a gelding (strike two), and had been out of work for awhile (strike three), almost just let his ad slide on by.
Instead, I shrugged and said “he’s got Image’s face. Might as well at least talk to his owner…”
A few emails later, and we had set up a day for me to come and meet him. I blinked at my computer screen, a bit perplexed at how I had gotten to this step when I realized that I did, in fact, want to go meet him. What happened to wanting a sassy, spicy Spanish gaited horse? Harrumph.
So, I did go see him. Today, in fact. M, his owner, met us at his barn in western Massachusetts (and by us, I mean my coworker/friend/partner in crime, L) and introduced us to the little gold horse. King pricked his ears and frisked me for cookies. Once he determined that I was fresh out, he turned back to M and mooched a couple of cookies out of her. “Food motivated” is an understatement, and he knows exactly who is going to give him said food. M is such a sweetheart of a woman, and King has her wrapped around his hoof. She was refreshingly honest about King’s shortcomings and made no excuses as to why. I appreciated her thorough description of her critter, and her wherewithal to bring his registration paperwork. It’s REALLY nice to know a horse’s background. In this case, King Shadow Maker was bred in Tennessee, raised a bit in North Carolina, and then came up to New England as a three year old. In recent months, he hasn’t had much work due to M’s bad back — she’s way worse off than me, the poor thing!
It was shortly after going to get my tack that I realized I had (stupidly) left my stirrups at home — please don’t ask, I’m completely and totally mortified that I didn’t notice that I had no stirrups on my saddle to begin with — it was decided that we were going to just play with him. King took one look at me when I got on the end of his lead line, and went “Hmm. Newbie. What can I get away with?”
He attempted to barrel through me.
I backed his ass up. His name might be King, but I am the Queen when it comes to whatever horse is on the end of my lead line.
His ears swiveled — first one, then the other, then they tipped back, and when I laughed at him, he pricked them forward again. He might be a blonde, but he’s no dummy — he knows perfectly well who is on the end of that line. He figured out very quickly that I was not going to tolerate bullshit from him. He was still a bit of a fidgety fussbucket and it was very obvious, very quickly, that he’s BORED. He’s bored with his life and the monotony of standing around doing a whole lot of nothing. So, we toodled off to the indoor to play.
I lunged him a bit, and he reacted accordingly: a little affronted that I was asking him to work and even more annoyed that I wasn’t letting him get away with simply turning in and stopping. Once he settled in a bit, I had his attention and he was trying to respond to the buttons I was press. I knew that I wasn’t pressing the right buttons to get the correct response out of him (if they’re even installed!). I honestly wasn’t interested in getting the “right” answer out of him. I just wanted to see his reaction to slightly confusing stimuli. He was honest with his responses, and that was encouraging to see. He didn’t overreact to correction, and moved off when I asked. He was VERY soft in my rope halter (yes, that was Image’s. Yes, it broke my heart a little to pull it out and put it on another horse), and I absolutely loved that.
|Is this for eats?|
He was very pacey, though he gave me good moments of a running walk once or twice. I’m not going to hold that against him on the ground, but it will be interesting to see what he’s going to offer me as a default under saddle, and whether or not the correct buttons have ever been installed to get him to collect up and gait properly.
He entertained us while we stood around talking by inspecting my camera bag, poking me incessantly with his nose, and generally acting like a goofy kid who just wants to be paid attention to. Of course, this meant that I had to entertain him…so, I did. There were a bunch of these hanging around the indoor, so I just picked one up and plopped it over his neck. He didn’t bat an eye. His funny, curious, thoughtful nature shone through when I asked him to walk around with it around his neck and he just went “Oh…um, okay. This is weird, but sure! Cool new game!”
|Wearing a hula hoop!|
Once I was done messing with him, he did something terribly mean and cruel and adorable and god damn it horse this was NOT OKAY AT ALL.
I DON’T WANT A WALKER.
Except…I might want this one. Next week, I go back to take him for a spin and see how he is under saddle, which will make or break the whole thing.
Damn it all.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s (er, today’s?) escapades with a coworker that has Paso Finos up in NH.