Sunday, 26 July 2009

you can lead a horse to water

but you can't always get him on the trailer.
Something happened to me at work years ago, that while quick and apparently insignificant at the time, it has stuck in my memory like a bad nanny-coker's tatoo.
Allow me to set the stage (again).
I was working on a property in the country. An estate, really, where all seemed perfect. Horses, barns, riding arenas and an old farmhouse (restored). Like Rockwell done well.
The lady of the house (a perfect match to the setting) was attemting to get her horse on a horse trailer, but the horse wanted none of it.
I watched the tug of war go on for a few minutes when I got up, walked across the yard, and offered my assistance. She asked me if I had horses, and I said "no, but me and dogs get along pretty well", and with a weird look, she said "ok go ahead".
Now she was tugging and pulling and pushing this horse to no avail, therefore I imagine that the bar she had set for what this "hired help" could accomplish, wasn't very high.
I just walked up to his head and began stroking is face, and talking to him. After a minute or three, he let me get my hand on his bridle, and I continued to talk to him.
Another minute or three went by, and while still talking, we started walking towards the trailer. When we got to the ramp, he stopped cold, so I did too, but kept talking.
A minute or three later, I tried to walk, but he didn't, so I stopped.

See how this is working?

On the next attempt he still wasn't really sure,
but he got in anyways. Coupla 3 minute sessions, and he was trusting enough to get in. She (the lady of the manor) didnt want to close the door with me inside, but I assured her that we were ok, and that she could.
We were.
After I crawled out, she thanked me and asked if I had any experience with horses, but again, I said I was a dog person, but my daughter had an arabian.....................
"Oh, YOU have a daughter? How old?" she asked.
I told her that she was 15, (I think, I cant remember how many years ago this happened)..
and then SHE started talking.
She started telling me of the tragedy that was her daughters life, and subsequently her family's life.
Three or four sentences into a relationship, and this lady of the manor was dumping on me like I'm dear Abby.
What does one say? You'd think I'd know by this point.

How do I keep getting into these messes?
No good deed goes unpunished, I suppose.

What I got out of it, and from thinking about it, is that while everything may appear like Churchill Downs Perfection, it isn't always so. There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff, that the camera doesn't tell us.
And sometimes we can get the horse to do what we want, just by asking it to.


  1. Appearances can be deceiving. The older I get, the more I wonder if anything is real.