Nothing to do with books or writing …

October 26, 2008 § 5 Comments

This is Joe, a gelding quarterhorse who lives at Longview Farm Park.
Wait ’til you see him in the sun; his coloring will make you say, geez he’s beautiful.
Joe is 24. He won’t mind me telling his age. He’s in good shape.
He takes handicapped children on rides around the paddock every weekday.
He has the patience of a saint.
He has the appetite of an animal twice his size.

Snarl and HM went to the Park with me yesterday.
I took a bag of carrots.
Joe understands “bags” and pockets. His horse-y inhibitions disappear at the sight of possible treats and the sound of a rattling bag.

Snarl was amazed. He laughed out loud as Joe stretched over the fence to nuzzle the pockets in my sweatshirt and bumped me with his muzzle.

Snarl says he fell off a horse when I took him riding as a 4-year-old. I remember dimly (he didn’t get hurt, was just surprised) but my “mom” memory prefers to block out negative things.

So yesterday was the closest Snarl has been to a horse in years.
And he liked it, asking a lot of questions – do they like their ears scratched? (maybe, but not by you) Do they bite? (they can, and some will more than others – Joe is cool, though) Don’t they get cold? (they grow winter coats – you can see Joe’s coming around his cheek and the top of his neck)

You really like horses, don’t you Mom?
I didn’t answer. But it’s true. I can’t stop smiling when I’m around horses. I say dumb affectionate things to them.

Meanwhile HM, my city man, is not a fan. But he indulges me and has been known to pull over to the side of a road so I can gaze at someone’s horses and maybe jump out of the car to snap pictures.)

When we left the barn to go hiking, thus cutting of Joe’s carrot supply, he ambled out into the pasture.
 When we returned, Joe gave us the cold shoulder.
We walked around the pasture so he might notice us.
We still had a lot of carrots left.
We called him, held up the carrots.

Does he remember us from an hour ago? Snarl asked.
I doubt it. He’s just used to people at the fence giving him treats.
Are horses dumb? Do they have good memories? he asked.
I just looked at Snarl.
No, really. I’m just wondering, he said.
I shook my head. Snarl can tell you anything about dogs. But he had clearly marked horses off his list ’til now.
Yup, we got his attention.
(You may be wondering: where is HM all this time? Oh, he’s at the other end of the pasture, talking to people. Honestly, he could be Mayor.)

More carrots, please, Joe said, ducking his head over the fence.
Of course we obliged.

A father and his very young son came by. Snarl asked the Dad (allright?) who shook his head yes, so Snarl handed the little guy some carrots and when Joe’s velvety muzzle and big old lips smeared the kid’s palm, we thought he was going to cry. But he laughed. And wanted “more. Do it again.”

So Snarl, aka Mr Collegeman Cool, and the tiny kid stood there, feeding the rest of the carrots to Joe, who ground away meditatively, taking his time, and sometimes looking down at the grass as though he might prefer to eat it, instead. It was a coy trick. Snarl and the Kid quickly palmed and offered another carrot.

And then, as a thank you, Joe posed for the camera.
Walking away, Snarl snapped back to his usual brusque, urban cool. “Geez, horses are disgusting. My hands are all smeared.” He wiped them on his designer jeans.
I just kept smiling and smiling.


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§ 5 Responses to Nothing to do with books or writing …

  • seachanges says:

    I love the pictures (and the words that go with it) and am convinced I am misspending my days! Should go out with the camera and let it all wash over me. I love it when kids wipe hands on designer jeans, isn’t that what they are for?

  • anno says:

    Gorgeous horse! Amazing how animals have an instinct for treats, and where they might be able to find them. I’ve been enjoying these weekend excursions you’ve been sharing here.

  • oh says:

    Seachanges – You know we love seeing your country(side)whenever you post pictures. Funny though, how for most of us, getting out and about seems to run in waves. I can go days working at my desk, even weekends. Then when we do go out, I go camera-mad, taking pictures of everything from my shoes to leaves piled against the garage door. I suspect it’s similar for those of us working/reading/writing/and the grand old etceteras!

  • oh says:

    Anno – he is a sweet old horse and nice of him to be social whenever we show up. Next time, I’m taking a few peppermints (the red and white hard candies that they love).

  • Jeanie says:

    Joe is stunning and the photos are more so — I am in awe of horses. They scare me a wee bit, yet they’ve never threatened me. But oh, how beautiful!

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