Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Imperfect Creatures

If you don't me a year ago that I would learn to love a horse the way I have loved cats and dogs, I would have raised my eyebrows at you. It's not that I didn't respect or like horses, but I always thought of them as possessing less character than the carnivores that share our lives. More like a cow with panache. But spending so much time with him, learning his language, even simple things like running a curry comb over his furry backside teaches me something new about him every day. I discovered a personality, and quirks, and know him the way I know Jazz, Annie, Gibson and Bo. Horses have left the world of history and storybooks and the base utilitarian work they do. They've become something more. Something I never knew was there. And I learn more every single day.

Today I learned Merlin and I share the same weakness for love. We were riding out in the countryside near Livingston Brook Farm and passed a fence line with some haflingers. I suspect that at least one was in heat because Merlin changed soon as his nostrils flared. It was all I could do to stay on while he approached the fence, carrying on in loud and desperate neighs and pawing at the ground. He wanted in. He wanted in so bad I was scared to stay on his back. I leapt off and tried to pull him away and he stared daggers at me and started stomping harder. It took a bit of strong work to get him away from the estrogen but we managed. He finally joined me,looking back over his shoulder at the Austrian blondes cat calling back as we turned the corner. Walking side by side, Merlin put down his head and let out a long sigh. I knew that sigh. I sighed it myself quite a few times.

I touched his mane and his brown eyes looked over at me. If a horse can look sheepish he did. "It's okay, Mac." I told him. "I've done foolish things too when faced with attraction." Merlin didn't reply, being a horse, but I slapped his shoulder and told him one of these day's he'd get lucky. There are more mares in the world than one field in Washington County. When we both were calmed down I hopped back up into the saddle and we trotted back to the farm.

Every dog has his day. Every horse has his hormones.

16 Comments:

Blogger Chautauqua said...

Jenna, again you draw me in with your words, make me chuckle, and wish I lived closer. I had horses at one time, and then one of them kicked me in the head, and I developed a fear that never quite left ....

December 11, 2012 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

Is he intact? For some odd reason, I guess I just assumed he was a gelding.

December 11, 2012 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger blind irish pirate said...

Is he not a gelding? Goodness.

December 11, 2012 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

He's a gelding. I still think he was in it for the ladies.

December 11, 2012 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

Probably was for the ladies. My older gelding puts on quite the show for his lady pasturemates. During the end of a lesson when energy was dimming his ladies deigned to join us. Suddenly it was like riding a 5 year old stud with the whinnying and pawing and prancing. They left and he deflated like a tired balloon. He dozed in the crossfire when I untacked him :).
You handled it really well. Always go with your gut when in a situation like that. Getting off sometimes is the smartest thing to do and can be difficult.

December 11, 2012 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I had a thoroughbred who was gelded and FAR past his prime (30!) and he still lost his ever loving mind when confronted with a mare in heat. I loved how youthful and foolish he got in the presence of raging estrogen. :) He had a palomino quarterhorse "girlfriend" who was 35. Cutest old married couple I've ever seen.

December 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I had a thoroughbred who was gelded and FAR past his prime (30!) and he still lost his ever loving mind when confronted with a mare in heat. I loved how youthful and foolish he got in the presence of raging estrogen. :) He had a palomino quarterhorse "girlfriend" who was 35. Cutest old married couple I've ever seen.

December 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I had a thoroughbred who was gelded and FAR past his prime (30!) and he still lost his ever loving mind when confronted with a mare in heat. I loved how youthful and foolish he got in the presence of raging estrogen. :) He had a palomino quarterhorse "girlfriend" who was 35. Cutest old married couple I've ever seen.

December 11, 2012 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Kelsie said...

I had a thoroughbred who was gelded and FAR past his prime (30!) and he still lost his ever loving mind when confronted with a mare in heat. I loved how youthful and foolish he got in the presence of raging estrogen. :) He had a palomino quarterhorse "girlfriend" who was 35. Cutest old married couple I've ever seen.

December 11, 2012 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

He is just a friendly guy, and wants to meet all the neighbors...BTW Jenna, when I go to donate on the Barnheart button, I see it going to celtic----@yahoo.com Is that you?

December 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Deltaville Jamie said...

I had a TB gelding who loved the ladies. Once went to a show where another rider foolishly brought her mare who was in season. Had all the boys riled up.

December 12, 2012 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

YOU bet it is! celticbonfires@yahoo.com is my original paypal address from high school!

December 12, 2012 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

Those Halflinger hussies! They are pretty horses though so I can understand the temptation :)

December 12, 2012 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Austrian blondes are enough to turn anyone's head. :)

December 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger redhorse said...

I've had two geldings, one was gelded later in his life, the other very early. They both love the girls. You really can't blame Merlin, those blonde German ponies are the cutest.

December 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Jimmie said...

We had a standardbred gelding..big one...16 3 hands. Our neighbor used to bring his mares and ride past our pasture to help bring them into heat. It worked many times. I'm sure Thunder loved every minute of it even though he had "had his suitcase unpacked"!

Diane in North Carolina

December 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM  

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