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Saturday, December 4, 2010


   There's this horse I know called Star. She has a rusty complexion with tinges of brown. She stands about fifteen hands tall and always holds her head up high. She spooks easily and is afraid of everything. Her former owners wern't very kind so she needs some gentleness. Star is a Missouri Foxtrotter and dances as her name. She is afraid of the wind because she can't smell her usual five mile aroma so she doesn't know if danger is looming. She can spot kindness and responds by lowering her head and nustling up close. When she drinks water she likes to let it spill over her lower lip, maybe she is rinsing her mouth. With a saddle on she is ready to roar but likes to let you know who the boss is. Even with a bit in her mouth she has her own agenda and makes for an interesting ride.

Pretty soon she will be trained enough for trail rides and that will still be a bit risky. She would have to trust her rider a lot to do what is asked of her. Communicating with a horse is mostly done from the seat. How you sit a saddle and move your legs tell the horse what to do more than pulling on the reins. Being comfortable in the saddle takes some getting used to and overcoming the fear of falling is catamount to staying in the saddle. Looking where you want to go is also important. When you look at the ground the horse usually doesn't understand what you want. There are also special places to touch a horse as well as places not to touch. Horses can't see their mouth so you don't want to touch there. But rubbing between the eyes on the forehead is a favorite for most horses, Star included.

Star is a strong horse with good muscle tone and maybe a winter belly and a very strong neck almost like leather. She likes to roll around in the dirt and usually gets burrs in her hair that take a long time to pull out carefully without pulling out her hair. She wears shoes because she is a trail horse used to travelling the trail with cowboys. Now she is mostly used for lessons and is ridden with an English saddle.

Star doesn't often speak but has lots of friends that she meets in the fields or she says hi to when she is in the arena near one of the fields.

Meeting  and making friends with a horse is a little different than meeting and making friends with a person. Horses don't speak so you have to find another way to communicate and hope you say the right thing.

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