Feeding the Horses

I love horses.  I love to watch them graze and gallop.  The coolest thing in all of sports to me is the “down the stretch” run of the Kentucky Derby as the jockeys ride their race horse to the finish line.  But, I don’t like to ride them.  I am totally afraid of them.  I know some will find that particularly wimpy to say – I’m just being honest.  Being a city boy, I was never around horses enough to feel comfortable with them.  My only experience on a horse was an occasional trail ride on some half-dead animal that seemed disgusted with me and my fat ass on top of him (or her).  It was my thought during those rare riding occasions that the horse might just decide the ride was over and run me into a tree or drop me off a cliff.  And that is what scared me most.  This animal knew what it was doing – and I did not.

But, I still love horses.  Here at our campground I have made friends with a couple of horses that are part of an adjacent farm at the backside of the campground property.  I noticed the horses back in the summer and would stand at the wire fence watching them.  One day the two horses noticed me standing by the fence and turned in my direction.  Very slowly, as if unsure who or what I was, they began walking toward me.  They would occasionally stop and look and it seemed they were trying to decide if I was worth the trouble of walking across the long field to where I was standing.  Finally they arrived at the fence and stopped about ten feet from me and sort of checked me out for a couple more minutes before eventually walking up to within arms reach.  I knew they were wanting something to eat, but, unfortunately, I had nothing to give.  They let me touch their nose and then, realizing I had nothing to eat, turned and began grazing in the other direction.

The next day I returned to the horses and, again, stood by the fence and waited for them to notice me.  I was not sure if they would bother with another trek across the pasture since they came up empty yesterday.  “You going back over there Bob?” I could imagine one of the horses saying to his buddy.  “Heck no, Frank, he’s got nothing.”  But, sure enough, here they came.  Either these horses are really stupid, really hungry or full of faith.  I want to believe the latter.   I noticed the black horse seemed to be dominant over the brown horse and was first to arrive at the fence where I was standing.  I had brought along apple slices and the black horse gulped them down while the brown horse stayed back and watched.  The next day I returned again (this time with carrots) and laughed as the black horse galloped to me, literally kicking at the brown horse to keep it back so it could have all the snacks.  Again I fed the black horse and rubbed its nose and said good-bye.

Interestingly, after doing this several times per week, the brown horse (who wears a peace sign covered blanket) has become the dominant horse and has managed to beat “Blackie” to the fence for a daily snack of carrots.  “Peace Sign” (as I call him) is now starting his trek across the field as soon as he sees me walking up the lane – probably a good quarter-mile away.  He eats from my hand and then allows me to pet him for a minute and then we part ways as he goes back to grazing on the grass and I go back to grazing in my RV.  We are very much alike – “Peace Sign” and me.  He likes to eat, I like to eat, he seems a little afraid of me and I’m a little afraid of him.  But we are warming up to each other.  It feels good seeing him walking across the field toward me.  I have to wonder if he looks for me throughout the day – raising that huge brown head up from his grazing to see if that man with the carrots is over there by that fence.  Maybe.  I don’t know what horses are thinking and that makes them fascinating to me.

People ask me what I do with all my time while Lisa works.  I get tired of answering that question.  From now on I’m just gonna say I feed the horses.  People don’t need to know anything more than that.

Love, Steve


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