Horse Play

Horse Play

By Kay Davis

 

horse momandbabyHorses, I am only just learning, are very playful. I went up the hill to the stables where Galán lives. He’s my big, beautiful appaloosa, a spotted horse. We were going off to the beach for a few days, and I wanted to see my big fella before going. He was out in the farthest paddock, and I had to cut through three rail fences to get to him.

The first one was easy. Magnum met me at the fence, sniffing at the apple I was carrying for Galán. He is a gentle, shorter horse. I stroked his neck and watched him extend his muzzle toward the plastic bag that held the apple, so I gave up any idea that his pleasantry was entirely for me. As I continued on my way, he followed me over to the next rail fence where Cloud was already extending his nose, snuffling around for the treat he could also smell.

I had some difficulty sliding through this second fence because Magnum was bumping my rump with his nose and Cloud was nipping at my shoulder, hoping to make me drop the apple. “Come on, kids,” I said, laughing. “Gimme a break.”  But, no dice. So I ran farther down the fence. Now, wasn’t that bright? Like I’m going to outrun a horse? Or outsmart him? Unlikely. When they smell an apple, they’re very clever.

Finally, however, I got through the fence and had only Cloud to contend with. He nudged me and starting herding me around in circles to keep me from the farther fence where I could feed the apple to Galán. Now we were running around, wheeling and reversing direction. Soon both the horse and I were laughing. It’s no small thing being laughed at by a horse, you know.

Once I reached the final fence, Galán began walking over to greet me, a little whinny to say “Hi, Mom.” But I hadn’t yet gotten through it. Cloud wasn’t ready to give up yet. He kept nudging at me, trying to keep the apple, if not me, on his side of the fence. Galán, nonetheless, is also a smart pony. He began nipping at Cloud, just enough to push him away from me. I got through the fence and hugged my big fella affectionately.

“Heck with that,” said he. “Give me the apple.” You have to use your imagination here since we all know that horses don’t really talk, but his action definitely spoke for him. He poked his nose into the plastic bag while I was still trying to pull out one of the two halves to feed him. He was so cute that I couldn’t resist. I kissed him. But with food at hand, Galán is too preoccupied for that sissy stuff. Usually, he will nudge me back with his nose, the equivalent of a horse kiss, and sometimes he will hang his head over my shoulder like a hug. But at this moment, it was “first things, first” – the apple.

Having munched his treat, Galán decided to let Cloud know that I was his mom and treats are for him. He began nipping at Cloud again. I rather liked that he was showing his friend where he drew the line. I stroked my pretty boy as I talked with him, and we walked around the paddock side by side. It’s a good thing when you form a relationship with a horse so the two of you can walk free like that, no halter needed. Soon we were playing again, until it was time for me leave.

I slipped through the two fences, told Cloud and Magnum what cuties they were and passed on through, feeling very guilty that I hadn’t had the forethought to bring more apples. Magnum began running, kicking his back legs and tossing his head and his mane into the air ready for more play with his friends.

Watching them for a few minutes more and knowing that within an hour they would be back in their stables, munching their dinner and getting ready for the night’s rest, I felt a sense of peace. The three of them have a lot of fun together, and it’s a joy for me to watch them, like kittens or puppies at play, just a lot bigger.

All my life I wanted a horse. They are so worthwhile. I am glad I live in Mexico where horses are still valued as work horses, show animals and family companions. Here there is land where Galán and I can ride and enjoy the views, where animals can romp and enjoy their lives and where a horse is an affordable pleasure.

Ojo Del Lago
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