Friday, September 13, 2013

Superior Beings

Her majesty Ginger and the Walai Lama
I have been absolutely demoted to the lowest caste in Horse culture this summer. I am one eye blink away from untouchable status right now. My existence is not even acknowledged unless I have a treat or a brush in my hand. This is because their pasture is six feet deep in big blue stem and I have only been to the barn a few minutes daily to make sure they have water and no one is bleeding. If there is not something in this relationship for them, then they do not even pretend interest in me.

Wally's former people said Wally would be the boss, and they were right - as long as he allows Miss Snot Face to eat and drink first, and hog all the treats, and be groomed first. If he decides it is time to head for the pasture, she follows along even if it means walking away from the curry comb. She can walk away from Wally though, and he just watches her go. He sees where she is going then carries on with whatever he deems more important than following after her fat, grumpy behind.

I am seldom irritated with Wally. He does everything I ask of him. He tolerates (ignores) me calling him: Wallery, Wall', Walter, William Wallace, Walai Lama, Big Teensy, Gooby and a lot of other names so infantile and sweet and asinine that even I, the woman of no self esteem, refuse to admit on the world wide web that I speak them aloud. Wall' is just a big ol' goofy sweetheart and I love him! All I want to do is hug his big neck and rub his soft nose and lean against his big round belly. He does not truly appreciate any of it. He is smart enough to know that all treats come from human hands. If he ever wants a pear he simply must endure the hugging. In his mind it is a fair trade.

Miss Thing, on the other hand, most often hears "Ginger!" and "Goddamn it!" and all possible variants. Oh, she eventually does what I ask, but it must always look as if it is her idea. It is the typical vying between two alpha females. (I'm pathetic but I am a human being - I have one or two advantages over a horse.) Sometimes Ginger forgets her royal self when I am brushing her, and she gathers up the back of my shirt in her rubbery horse lips and returns the favor of mutual grooming. If she is in a very expansive and royal mood, I might get the top of my head nibbled. All the horses did this to me when I was child, and it still makes me laugh. I think mussing a human's hair is an equine term of endearment. I cannot help myself. I love Miss Thing, too.

Years ago Ginger was sent away to Bonner Springs for 60 days of training. (I still held the dream that I was going to ride Ginger.) The young woman who did the training had no trouble with my horse. She said Ginger was smart and brave. The old woman who tended all the horses stabled there did not like Ginger. It was an equal and mutual dislike. Whenever the old woman had the lead rope, Ginger would back up, toss her head, and misbehave. She even reared up once when I was there. Ginger stopped short of bolting away or being an outright bad horse, but she and the old woman hated each other's guts. Well, I did not care for that old grouchy woman myself. My relationship with Ginger is simple: in return for small personal favors, Ginger will sometimes be nice to me. In my mind it is a fair trade.

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