Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Leopard Cannot Change Its Spots Nor a Horse Her Bossy Ways

Wally the new horse has slipped into the routine of things here at Spirit Creek effortlessly.  He covers a lot more ground in the pasture on any given day than Ginger would on her own, so she might be slimming down a bit with so much more daily exercise.  He is not allowed out of her sight.  If Wally sees me at the barn or at the "front gate", he comes to investigate.  There might be treats involved, possibly even pears.  Ginger must come too because someone named Wally might get something only she should have.

It was just wishful thinking on my part that Ginger would be so darned happy to have a nice companion that she would transform her bossy ways.  Wally is allowed to arrive at the barn or the gate first.  Wally can be petted and showered with attention:  ear scratches and head rubbings and neck huggings.  Wally can sniff every pocket and nibble at everyone's head with his rubbery horse lips.  It is all good until someone brings out the treats.  In the interest of my horse's' health and well-being, I rarely give her a real peppermint candy.  Instead, I buy peppermint flavored horse treats that Ginger likes almost as well.  Either it was the peppermint treats or the honeymoon is just naturally off.  When I stopped at the gate this evening on the way to run an errand, Ms Thing actually laid back her ears and threatened poor Wally because he dared to take his share of the treats! 

Wally deals with any rebuke by merely turning his back and feigning disinterest, a good, solid move on his part as far as I can tell.  He did not get clobbered by Ginger - but her body language was crystal clear even to a dolt of a human like myself.  I gently slapped her face away when I gave Wally his second and third share, and that put her in an even bigger snit.  I was sorely disappointed.  I thought Wally was the boss.  Wally thought he was the boss.  Ginger has cleared up any misconceptions on our part.

But Wally already knows his true worth to Ginger.  After only 36 hours together, it was Ginger's scheduled farrier visit.  Ginger was in the round pen and Wally was busy sampling the mineral block and otherwise snooping around in full view next to it.  Afterward, while Terrie put her equipment away and I paid her, I left Ginger in the round pen.  That way there would be only one horse at large when I opened the gate for Terrie to leave.  As soon as Wally, following me toward the gate, was out of Ginger's sight, she began urgently calling to him and pacing worriedly in the pen.  It was actually rather heart-rending.  Wally, like the true gentleman he is, answered her calls and immediately returned to wait patiently in sight of her.  She was quiet but still pacing, afraid she was going to be left in the round pen where she could not follow Wally.  She wanted to bolt out of the pen, but I made her behave herself and led her out of the pen and made her lower her head so I could remove her halter.  (Since Wally's arrival, I am even further down Ginger's list of lowly peasantry - probably the very bottom.)  If I ever have to separate those two horses, it is going to be a terrible thing for all of us.

We all know Ginger loves the Wallymeister with all her heart and soul - he just better keep his handsome horse lips to himself when it comes to the peppermint treats.  That's all she's sayin'.

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