Monday, October 12, 2009

The Wonder of a Mini Horse Guide

Here's another little update I thought you might appreciate. I wish you were here to see some of this--and to yell at me when I need it, which is, well, more often than I want to admit!

A few days ago, I was getting ready to take Cali for a walk when Mariam, my three-year-old niece, asked if she could come with me. Because she absolutely loves Cali and thinks my little horse is her best friend, I couldn't turn her down, even though it meant I would have to change my plan and not cross any side streets.

So, off we went, and Cali did a good job. Mariam said she wanted Cali to slow down, so I had Cali go at a snail's pace. It was a little adventure, holding Mariam's little hand and letting Cali guide. Mariam showed me that she's learning to skip, which was adorable, even though I know she really hasn't got the hang of it yet.
Interestingly, after the first right turn around the block, Cali walked to the corner of the next and turned without going all the way to the curb. I didn't stop her and ask her to rework it because I could hear the traffic and gauged the distance, so I knew that we were turning at the right spot. I wonder now if I should've asked her to find the curb, but because I was comfortable, I didn't.

Anyway, onward we went, with Mariam chattering on about being a big girl, telling me how we had to walk with Cali every day, and reminding me that she was so good because she doesn't tell Cali what to do. Suddenly, Cali stopped in front of a house. I could hear people outside, and they were working with tools. Cali just stopped, and they said hello. I returned the greeting and then asked Cali to proceed, but she refused. Not only did she refuse, but she cut across both Mariam and I. I thought maybe she was trying to get to the grass at my right, but she didn't put her head down, just stood in front of both of us.

I asked Cali to line up, which she promptly did, and again, when I asked her for a forward, she staunchly refused. The people working outside were surprised, and one of them explained that there were tools in front of us. He removed them and then said we could go on. But still, Cali refused!

By this time, I was thinking that my horse was just being obstinate. There wasn't anything in her path, so she should walk on with no trouble. I broke a handler's cardinal rule and stepped in front of my horse and asked her to walk on. No go. She kept walking in front of my niece and I, then moving to the right of Mariam, as if she was trying to circle us. I could get her to line up, but forward was another matter. So, I did the only thing I could think of; I asked if there was anything else in our path that Cali might find dangerous.

"There's a car blocking the driveway and most of the sidewalk a few houses away," he told me. "It would be difficult to get through there."

Mystery solved! My horse really did have her reasons. I'm sure that had we gone ahead, we could have walked single file, but that wasn't safe, according to my girl. So, amid protests from Mariam, we turned around and walked back home.
A Close Call?
Today, I was doing my normal Cali chores. I filled a water bucket and returned to the shed. I closed the gate with one hand, something I'm usually good at, and put the water down. I wondered why Cali didn't follow me inside as she always does. She likes the company. So I called to her. There was no response. After a few tries, I got impatient and went out to see what she was up to. Maybe she was trying to get me to play ball with her, which wasn't going to happen, not in the cold!

I came out to the distinctive smell of grass being eaten by a horse. It doesn't smell like fresh-mown grass but like it's greener, maybe, and the sound of my horse happily munching. Okay, it took me a minute to figure out what had happened. Apparently, I hadn't let the latch on the gate fall completely, and Cali decided to see if she could get a few nibbles.

So, what to do? I had all these horrible thoughts of my horse running off, being hit by a car. We live on a main road, so the cars go by pretty quickly.

What could I tempt her with? Skittles? Hey, that might work, but first, I tried calling her, and even though I had to call a few times, she came to me! As a reward, because I knew she really wanted the grass, I stood with my hand on her neck and let her have some grass for a few minutes. Besides, I needed a few minutes to get my heart rate down!
Then I asked Cali to come into her shed. She did and was promptly rewarded with two Skittles dropped into her dish. Wow! That was a close one! I hope there are no more adventures like that one very soon!

I just wanted to give you these little updates because they were interesting and well, educational, for me, at least.
Now I'll go, as Cali is probably starving. I'm a few minutes late with nighttime hay and potty and grooming.

Love always and forever,

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