The Thwarting of my Advance and Retreat

A frustrating thing happened today; my ‘advance and retreat’ head-collar evasion strategy was thwarted.

Kat came striding across the field with my soggy grassy munchies at the ready. Mmmh, here we go, grub up! Then I spotted the head-collar, which meant a training session might also be on the menu. So, I actioned the retreat.

Now, there is an obvious flaw with this. I am turning my back on my soggy grassy munchies, which, as you know, I’m rather fond of. So, I combine a bit of advance with the retreat – just to see if Kat is prepared to drop the head-collar and let me get stuck in, without being snared.

That’s a win win for me. I get the lovely grub and don’t have to leave my field and pals.

The advance and retreat usually goes on for about ten minutes, while Kat follows, waits, follows, waits. Between you and me, I sometimes have to remind myself why I’m doing this – it’s very entertaining.

Now, I am not of an awkward disposition. I just don’t see why I should happily leave the safety of my own field and own kind. It’s scary out there!

There are large noisy machines that whiz past me. Humans sitting on two wheeled contraptions that creep up on me and then swoosh past. More importantly, how can I be sure there aren’t any hungry lions hiding behind the hedges or around the next corner?

Kat says there are no lions in Derbyshire. How does she know? Humans aren’t as intuitively tuned into these dangers as horses. So every cell, in my extremely hairy body, remains on high alert.

Anyway, back to the thwarting. Today, as soon as I began my retreat, Kat walked back to the gate and sat down! What in the blazing green grasses was this now!?

What is she doing?

After a while, she came towards me again, armed with said headcollar. Cue, retreat. And, there she was, back at the gate, sitting down! What in the name of Pegasus was she doing?

Now, I’m smarter than I look. It’s all the hair – it masks my intelligence. Next time she came to me, I tried a small retreat and just turned my head. Off she went! Major thwarting was clearly staring me in the face.

However, I did what any dogged extremely hairy cob would do – I put it to the test and carried on.

The sight of my grassy munchies – so close yet so far – was my eventual undoing. And, I stood, without moving a single hair on my hairy body, while she snared me with that ******* head-collar.

Makes it all worth while 🙂

She seemed very pleased with this, clearly believing victory was hers.

Round 1 is all I can say. I am very resourceful as well as very hairy.


F x

A Stick Too Far

Grassy Munchies All.

I’ve not been myself this week, so Kat asked someone called Vet to come and check me over.

We met Vet down at the Farm and she placed a round circle on different parts of my body. The circle had tubes coming out of it that went into her ears. She seemed to be listening for something. Music? Voices?

It’s a small wonder she could hear anything through my extreme hairiness but she seemed to find what she needed.

I was okay with that. Then she tried to put a small stick up my bum.

What in the blazing green grasses did she think she was doing? I did not agree to this! Horses have rights you know!

Well, as you can imagine, some serious clenching ensued. Then Kat got me with the old hay cob distraction trick. For a second my attention was drawn from the clenching to the hay cob and, of course, in went the stick.

The indignation! I have never felt so mortified – not even when my beloved belly beard was so cruelly taken from me. I tried to spit it out, but Vet had a good strong hold.

Vet and Kat seemed very approving of the stick finally reaching its intended destination. I, on the other hand, had to retreat to my ‘happy place’ until it was over.

It was dark when Vet left so I had a bed for the night at the Farm, next to Jack.

This is Jack

He used to live in my field and only has one eye like Echo, who he used to be good pals with. We had a good chat during my stay. He looks like me but taller and less round. Impressively hairy though, I must say.

The next morning Kat gave me my breakfast, made my bed and took me home.

She said I coped very well with my night away. Apparently, King of Cool, Murray, used to go to pieces when he had to stay at the Farm. He even put his foot through a new stable door once!

I don’t think this behaviour scored many points with Alison, the human in charge at the Farm. Hopefully, my quiet fortitude went down a bit better.

Anyway, turns out I have something called Virus and will just feel a bit out of sorts for a while.

So, now that’s official, maybe Kat will give me a holiday from our training sessions and extra treats for showing such stoic forbearance during my night away.

However, let this be said, if anyone comes within 10 foot of me again with one of those sticks, I’ll be ready. Just saying.


F x

The Frog and The Farrier

A hearty Grassy Munchies all.

A man called Farrier trimmed my feet recently. He also responds to Mark, so I’m not completely sure which it is.

The first time Farrier trimmed my feet I wasn’t impressed. I mean, a flight animal can’t really take flight tied to a wall and on 3 legs… So, quite understandably, I tried every trick up my extremely hairy feathers to get all 4 legs back on the ground.

I tilted forward. I tilted backwards. Bit like a rocking horse actually. I even tried hoping around on 3 legs, but he just held on.

Turns out I had incorrectly reckoned my extreme round solidity would be more than a match for his extreme big tallness.

Despite my objections, I did end up with very nice tidy feet, so that’s a bonus. Kat said to think of it as a pedicure, which apparently is a therapeutic and cosmetic buffing for human feet.

These are my feet. Kat needs to trim my extremely hairy feathers so that Farrier can find them.

It’s Farrier who puts the shiny metal shoes on the feet of other horses. I don’t have these. Although Kat does sometimes put shoes on my feet that have the lovely grown-up shiny black strap I told you about.

You can just about see the lovely black shiny strap underneath my extremely hairy feathers

I can understand horses needing something on their feet. Standing in wet fields and stables can make our feet rather soft, which then makes them sore on the road or hard ground.

In the wild we would roam for miles, every day, over all kinds of hard and rough terrain, which would keep our feet naturally strong.

Unfortunately, the field I live in is almost soggier than my soggy grassy munchies at the moment. So, although Kat takes me over plenty of hard and rough ground during our trail riding training sessions – thanks very much for that – I still spend the rest of the time standing in a wet, muddy field.

Despite this, I think I would rather put up with occasional soft feet, than having those metal shoes.

Horses feet are an anatomical wonder – to be honest, the whole of my extreme hairiness is one of nature’s wonder, but I don’t like to brag. Anyway, our feet need to be pretty special as our survival depends on them.

The frog part of my foot is an elastic rubbery triangle structure that sits below the heel and functions as a shock absorber.

This is my frog

When the frog hits the ground it distributes the impact around the foot so minimal pressure is put on the bones and joints in my legs. It also keeps the blood flowing around my feet, keeping them strong and healthy.

I am literally feeding my feet soggy grassy munchies. How good is that!

I think there’s a strong argument here for Kat to feed me more soggy grassy munchies. Just to keep my feet strong. Obvs.


F x

The Violation of My Belly Beard

I feel like I’ve been violated.

I can’t even muster up a happy grassy munchies today.

I’m utterly devastated. My luxurious and beloved belly beard has gone. A lady called Heather used a small zuzzy zuzzy machine to cut it all off.

Not just my beard either, but my chest hair too!

There was no consultation. No permission requested. It’s going to be a long road back from this for me and Kat. I need time. And a lot of treats.

To make the hairy matter worse, as I was leaving the so called ‘horse salon’ there was poor Aunty Tills waiting to go in after me!

I’m not one to gloat, but her belly beard isn’t (wasn’t!) a patch on mine, so I’m hoping her experience won’t be as traumatic.

When I’d regained my composure, I asked Kat what in the blazing green grasses did she think she was doing?

She said there was a little bit too much of me for January and she was worried there would be far too much of me by Spring, when really there needed to be a lot less of me.

Uhh? I think she means I’m overweight!

I asked her why horses in the wild weren’t defiled in this callous and inconsiderate manner. She said they don’t have any zuzzy zuzzy machines and they’d probably have trouble working them with their hoofs if they did.

Is she mocking me?

She also said they don’t necessarily have the same weight problems as domestic horses. This was because they can roam 20+ miles every day and eat dry grasses which aren’t as rich and sugary as the lush grass in our field.

Kat said our grass in Spring time is particularly high in sugars which can result in obesity and Laminitis. I had no idea what these were so, at this point, I started to listen – whilst retaining an air of frosty indignation, of course.

Obesity is when you get so overweight it can make you poorly and Laminitis is a very painful and serious disease of the hoof and foot. In severe cases it can lead to that final trip over The Bridge. Apparently, the high sugars and starch in rich Spring grass are one of the causes of Laminitis.

To reduce this risk, Kat said it would be better if I use the current ‘more of me’ to keep warm during the rest of Winter, instead of my ample belly beard and chest hair. That way, there will be just the right ‘amount of me’ when Spring arrives.

And, as an added bonus, I won’t drip so much with sweat after our trail riding training sessions. Bit rude.

After some grassy munchy ponderings, I decided I could understand why Kat had done it and, if she’d asked permission, I would have said over my extremely hairy dead body.

Kat doesn’t need to know that though. I’m happy for her to think I’m still grieving for my belly beard and need considerable time to recover from her betrayal. Plus, a lot more hay cobs. And, maybe a few weeks holiday from training. That might just bring me round.


F x

Worlds Apart

Grassy Munchies all!

During a hearty munching session recently I found myself pondering on how different humans and horses are – literally worlds apart.

Despite this my pals tell me again and again of how horses and humans manage to become best of friends, creating unique partnerships and bonds with each other.

To stay alive horses live completely in the moment – all our senses tuned into the world around us at every second of every day. Our humans keep telling us only horses living in the wild need to worry about this. Try telling that to our genetics!

On the other hoof, humans seem to dwell on the past and future, paying little attention to the present. As most humans don’t need to spend their ‘here and now’ trying to stay alive, strikes me they could be enjoying it a bit more.

Worlds apart couldn’t be more true when it comes to our intelligence.

Humans are equipped with a high level of reasoning and self-awareness. Whether they choose to use this is another matter, but let’s not dwell on that.

Because horses are so different humans can sometimes think we’re not clever, but we are – just in a very different way.

Horses have a superior emotional intelligence with refined intuition and instinct. Bit of a nifty sixth sense actually. From a distance we can accurately understand the intent of an approaching animal. A sleepy lion, full up on it’s latest victim, will have a very different intent to a starving lion desperate to eat!

Kat may look very happy here (can’t blame her really being with a cob of such extreme and impressive hairiness) but I, on the other hand, am a bit worried because I’m shut in a building with sand on the floor and I can’t see any of my friends!

We horses can also sense the emotion of our humans. Often from a distance and sometimes before they have any idea what they themselves are feeling!

Just for the record, we really like hanging out with humans who are calm, consistent, true and trustworthy. A human bringing all the baggage of a bad day to us can quite honestly turn around and try again tomorrow.

Left to our own devices, we can spike our stress and adrenaline levels in seconds to take flight in a life or death situation and drop them back down in equal time – using stress for it’s intended purpose.

As I say though, this is left to our own devices.

Humans seem to carry far too much stress around far too much of the time, which they unintentionally pass on to us. Keeping us confined too long, isolated from our pals or generally never allowing us to be what we are – horses! – adds to this stress, creating an overload.

Horses are congruent by nature – my vocabulary is really coming on isn’t it! Anyway, this means we can look calm and content on the outside, but inside we might be unhappy and stressed. We need this characteristic to avoid showing any weakness to predators.

When we do start showing our stress with so called ‘vices’ or ‘bad behaviour’ it means our stress levels have peaked. Instead of seeing this as ‘bad behaviour’ it would be really helpful if humans considered it as ‘information’ we’re trying to give.

This horse below used to live with us in our field until her human moved her to a field on her own. I feel very sad for her and cross all my hairy feathers that Kat will never do this to me. Being alone can make us extremely stressed and unhappy.

The lonely horse

To sum up my grassy ponderings, I reckon that humans are probably light years away from truly understanding how we think and feel. In turn, we horses are light years away from understanding the sophisticated human intelligence.

It seems to me that with patience and understanding our opposing characteristics combined has the ability to create something truly extraordinary. And, I hope me and Kat are on this path.

Although, she could try a bit harder. I mean, a few more hay cobs wouldn’t go amiss. And, perhaps a bucket of grassy munchies twice a day instead of just once would help?


F x