It’s hard to imagine there are still people who believe “it’s just a horse” when you can so clearly see the truth. You know your horses so well, you can actually predict their reactions and know that each one will respond differently to the same thing. When I talk about my horses, I speak of them as though they were people. Some people get it, some don’t.
I love understanding my horses and being able to see the differences in their distinct personalities. And Destiny—she’s an interesting one. When people drive past the barn on the road, they must see her as a big brown animal capable of pulling things and carrying people on her back. But when I look at her, that isn’t the first thing I see. I see all my memories with her and think of all her funny little quirks, the things that set her apart from other horses and make her so special. The way she takes my hat so gently between her teeth I don’t even notice until it starts to slowly lift off my head. How she always greets me when I walk up to her by gently bumping my hand with her nose. The sound of her nicker when she’s excited to see me, even though she knows it’s not even close to feeding time. How she’s so predictably unpredictable. And how she communicates with you so well, it’s like you’re talking to another person. I see that funky little crooked stripe on her nose, the intelligent expressiveness of her eyes, and her infamous stance where she’s never standing completely square. She’s not just “a horse.” She’s Destiny. There is no other horse exactly like her, and I love her for those little things that set her apart.
And Molly—you could ride her upside-down and backwards and she wouldn’t even care. She’s sneaky and has a mischievous side, but once she gets to know you, she’d do anything for you. And she’s great with beginners and young kids.
I decided to introduce the horses to an empty feed bag (while they were loose in the pasture), already having a pretty good idea of how they’d react. I was right. Destiny flinched when I walked toward her, and moved away when I tried to rub it against her side; but she walked right up to me when I asked her to yield her hindquarters and come forward toward me and sniffed it. She still wasn’t very impressed about it touching her, but she let me rub it (slowly, gently, and carefully, with me always watching her ears to make sure I wasn’t asking for too much, because yes, she will tell you) along her back and shoulders. And then when I moved on to Molly, she didn’t care of course. She stood rock solid, completely ignoring me, while I shook it around her back and neck and flopped it over her ears.
I love being able to predict the horses so well. It doesn’t take a horse expert to know your horse, but you do need to pay attention, spend a lot of time with them, and respect their individual wants and needs. And when you get there, it’s so much fun and so intriguing to read them and see all those little things that make them so unique. <3 Horses are so special that way. They have their own way of communicating and it’s fun to understand their language and be able to communicate back.