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Posts Tagged ‘Naughty horse’

One summer we were having a BBQ, and had invited several of our neighbors over. We pulled the picnic table over into the shade of our Willow tree, which happened to be just 15 feet or so from the front gate of our pasture. Because of all the activity both of the horses, Naughty and his friend Whisper were glued to the fencing observing our every move. For the most part they observed quietly, and waited to see what all the commotion was about.

We started carrying the dishes of food out, burgers, brats, (If you’re not from an area that has brats…I’m sorry…truly. They are delicious.) and various salads. None of this was particularly enticing to the horses, until…My Papaw came out of the house carrying a giant punch bowl of carrots. 

Except, they weren’t carrots. They were Cheetos, the thicker, puffier kind. But try telling Naughty that. He saw that bowl coming and his eyes rounded to the size of rice crackers and he let out such a whinny that the people nearest the picnic table all jumped. He then set to a fast, back and forth pacing (running over poor Whisper) while snorting and whinnying, and bobbing his head up and down in a “yes” motion. (He’s known for that. And also for sneaking up behind people and using his forehead to give them a great big push…usually into the water trough. He’s done this many times. I warn people, but they don’t seem to believe me until they are having their unscheduled bath.)

It took me a minute to figure out why he was so excited, but then I made the connection. To quiet his ruckus I said “Quiet now! They are not carrots!” (Yes, I know he doesn’t understand English. It doesn’t stop me from having conversations with him. Or my dog.) He kept up with the pacing and hollering, so to end the disruption I grabbed a cheeto and took it over to him so he could have a sniff and see for himself that it wasn’t a carrot. By now Whisper had enough of him, and his behavior, and had retreated to the East end of the pasture to graze in peace. As I approached the fence, he stopped pacing and began nodding his head frantically. If he had been a dog he would have had strings of drool hanging from his chin by now. I reached out my hand with the cheeto in it, thinking he’d catch a whiff of it and realize it wasn’t a treat he’d enjoy, but I was wrong.

My naughty horse reached out and snatched that Cheeto like it was the last food on Earth and he was starving. For a moment he had a very satisfied look on his face. Then, the taste hit him. Or maybe it was the texture. Whatever it was, he was clearly not amused.

Naughty opened his mouth and attempted to drop the “carrot” but, to his horror, he found that the carrot wouldn’t fall out of his mouth. The Cheeto had partially dissolved already and was very, very stuck to his tongue. He began shaking his head from side to side and making a noise very much like the noise cats make when they are about to deposit a present from their gastrointestinal track on to your favorite rug.

By this time everyone at the BBQ was staring at my naughty horse, who was putting on quite a show. In addition to his frantic gyrations he began jumping up and down, which eventually evolved into full on bucking. By this time I was collapsed on the ground laughing hysterically, and most of the people at the BBQ had gotten over their shock and were chuckling at Naughty’s antics.

Naughty’s impromptu rodeo lasted easily a full two minutes. The cheeto must have finally disloged or dissolved enough that he was satisfied that the “rotten carrot” was gone. He glared over the fence at the horde of gawking and laughing people, clearly miffed that we found such amusement in his misery. By now I had recovered somewhat and told my horse “I tried to tell you buddy! It wasn’t a carrot!” He responded by producing a lovely flehmens response, and stomping away towards Whisper, no doubt hoping to get some sympathy from her. If you are unfamiliar with the flehmens response, it looks like this:

So Naughty stomped away, looking back at us balefully once or twice. Eventually we were all able to settle down and enjoy our dinner, while Naughty cleansed his palate on some nice grass. It was weeks before he’d let us attempt to hand him anything even vaguely orange. Eventually he was willing to eat carrots again, but only if he took a good long sniff and lipped them for a bit before committing. To this day he is cautious about carrots, especially if they are cut up into smaller pieces.

A naughty horse rodeo

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Today was farrier day. My naughty horse needed a trim, since he has those darn white feet that chip so easily. As always he was exceptionally good for the farrier, except maybe for that moment when he noticed that he could see the farrier’s underwear sticking over the back of his jeans. He went in for the wedgie, but I caught him in time to prevent it. Phew. The farrier wouldn’t have been pleased I’m sure.

Then, walking my boy back out to his pasture, it happened. He was looking everywhere but where we were going, and just as I said “Hey! Pay attention!” his big ol’ foot came down square on my last three toes on my right foot. Luckily I was wearing my heavy leather boots, so no skin damage. However, at least one of the toes is a lovely shade of purple and all three are a little sore. Ah, well, such is life. It certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been stepped on.

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My loveable but naughty horse has given me lots of laughs over the years. (And  some frustration, and even occasionally some scares!) We’ve been together for a long time now, and I hope and pray we can be together for a lot longer! (He’s a 1987 model, a good year for horsepower eh? Haha)

Beautiful naughty horse

My naughty horse isn’t one to lay down in his stall at night. He’s a little fussy about laying near manure. I’ve always found this to be a good thing since he’s white! Of course if you show him to a mud puddle, all bets are off. Apparently mud is good, poo is bad. Go figure.

One winter morning  some years ago, I had just come out to the barn to do morning chores. My naughty horse was standing at the front of his stall staring at me expectantly as always, wondering where his morning chow was. (He’s always hungry, a real bottomless pit) His companion, scaredy horse, was laying down in her stall but got up when she heard the chow wagon arrive. (My mother’s mare, scared of everything and ALWAYS stuck like glue to the side of naughty horse, whom she apparently thought of as her protector…or maybe she figured she could just outrun him if something came after them. Hard to say.) I went to the feed bin and started readying their morning bowls when suddenly I heard a strange noise. Shhhhhcccrreeeesh…Hmm, what was that? I peeked into the still slightly darkened stalls of naughty horse and his companion scaredy horse. Nothing seemed amiss, so back to scooping the feed into the dishes!

Shhhhhcccrreeeesh…

What the heck?!?

I peeked in by the goats to see if one of them was into something, but they stared back at me innocently, batting their eyes at me as if to say “What? Is our breakfast coming too Mom?” Okay, this is a little weird, but back to morning feeding!

Shhhhhcccrreeeesh…

OKAY! ENOUGH! Where is this weird noise coming from?!? Determined to find the source of this noise I opened scaredy horse’s stall door and dropped her grain bucket in its holder, and withdrew her water pail for a refill. Then I opened naughty horse’s stall to do the same, and that’s when I saw it…The source of the strange sound.

Here stood my naughty horse, his water bucket upside down on the floor, his foot shoved through the bottom of the bucket. I stared at him incredulously, wondering how on earth he got himself into this predicament. He shuffled over to the door of his stall making the shhhhhcccrreeeesh sound all the way there. Eager for his breakfast, he didn’t seem the least bit concerned about his latest accessory, just the grain bucket in my hand. I dropped his grain bucket into it’s holder, and he dove into his breakfast. After turning on a few more lights so I could get a better gander at our newest problem, I determined this was going to be a two person job. When naughty horse punched his hoof through the bottom of his bucket, it broke a very jagged hole. Naughty horse’s leg was getting cut up from these sharp edges, and the bucket wasn’t just going to slide back off the foot since he already had some swelling in the pastern. A quick phone call to my Papaw to explain the situation, and he was on his way.

Papaw and I stood in naughty horse’s stall staring at bucketfoot, wondering how to get the bucket off without making his leg any more sore that it currenty was. Naughty horse was still blissfully unconcerned as he chowed down on breakfast. We had two problems; one, the bucket had a THICK plastic bottom ringed with sharp broken points and two, it was cold that morning so our fingers weren’t exactly at full dexterity. After trying, and failing, at several removal attempts, naughty horse was done with breakfast and getting a little impatient with our efforts to remove his new bracelet.

Finally we settled on using a small set of hedge clippers to chip away at the sharp peaks on the bucket’s thick bottom in hopes of making the hole big enough to slide it off my horse’s foot. Of course, being the naughty horse, he decided that there was no real reason he had to make this easy on us. It went something like this:

Papaw: Ok, hold him still while I cut these pieces away

Me: Okay, hold still buddy! We’ll get you out of this in no time!

Naughty: Shimmy, twitch, shhhhhcccrreeeesh…

Me:  Whoa! Stand still!

Naughty: *Headshake* Shimmy, twitch, backup, shhhhhcccrreeeesh…

Papaw: This isn’t going to work if you don’t hold him still!

Me: I know! But you know how he is! I’m trying!

*Chip chip chip* small pieces of plastic start falling away from the points on the bucket

Naughty: shhhhhcccrreeeesh…

Me: Aaarrrrgh!

Papaw: Sigh

Meanwhile, naughty horse  looks almost…pleased with himself. Of course. He would be.

*Chip chip chip* a few more pieces of plastic come away from the bucket’s pointy edges

Naughty: shhhhhcccrreeeesh…

Me: Where can I bang my head against a hard surface?

Papaw: Sigh

*Chip chip chip*

Papaw: Ok, lets try pulling it off again.

So, I held up naughty horse’s bucketfoot while Papaw started carefully tugging the bucket down Naughty’s leg. No luck, still stuck. Back to work.

*Chip chip chip*

Naughty: (He’s had enough of this nonsense now and starts shaking his bucketfoot around like a Radio City Rockette) BANG! BANG! SHHHHCCCRREEEESH…(Papaw and I are being beaten by the bucketfoot in its wild gyrations)

Me: Okay, hold on. We need a distraction! (More grain of course)

Now, with another smaller helping of his breakfast in front of him, naughty horse is suddenly placated into angelic behavior once again. Scaredy horse is still looking on at us like we may have lost our minds and she’s not sure she likes being stuck in the barn with such loonies.

*Chip chip chip* More pieces of the bucket fall away. *Crunch, crunch, crunch,* Naughty chews his food happily.

Papaw: Okay, lets try it again!

Me: It better be big enough this time!

So I held up the bucketfoot again, and Papaw started working it off the leg. Success! At last! The stupid bucket came off his leg, and I was relieved to see that the cuts in his pastern were pretty minor and would only require a soak in some epsom salts and a coating of Nitrofurazone cream. Naughty horse seemed a little relieved too, though I could sense some disappointment as well. I think he had already figured out that as long as we were messing with his bucketfoot he could keep conning us into giving him extra grain to get him to hold still.

At any rate, we patched up Naughty, tossed the offending bucket, and let the two horses out into their pasture for the day. The goats, chickens, ducks and geese all finally got their breakfast, and Papaw and I got to go back in for our morning chow too!

That day, I went right in to our local Fleet Farm and bought the squishy rubbery type buckets. No more hard plastic in my barn! We’ve never had a repeat of bucketfoot either, thank goodness. But sometimes, on a crisp winter morning I can still hear it…

Shhhhhcccrreeeesh…

(This story told in loving memory of my Papaw, whom I lost almost a year ago. I miss him every single day.)

My Papaw and I, back when I was just a wee one

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As you may recall, I am the proud owner of a horse…not just any horse though, a naughty one. I don’t believe he behaves the way he does with the intent of naughtiness, I think it’s just an incidental consequence of his intelligence. I know all pet owners think they have the smartest critter on the planet, but as far as horses go, I’m convinced my horse is Einstein in a white fur coat.

My adventures with the naughty horse started when I was just 15. My Papaw bought him for me after just one visit to the stable, following a ride in which he bucked with me on his back. We were off to a great start. I’d been looking at horses for a while now, and this one really caught my fancy. Naughty horse is a registered 1/2 Arabian, though in truth he is 3/4 since his mother was a 1/2 Arab and his father a full Arab. His other 1/4 is Appaloosa. Despite his high percentage of Arabian blood he’s rather big-boned and slightly inclined towards portliness. So as not to offend him, we just say he’s an easy keeper.

Now that I was face to face with this horse, I decided he was magnificent. I had to have him. The owner saddled him and led us out to an arena where we had our first ride together. Three trips around the ring in which he was head bobbing, pulling on the reins, jigging, and finally crow hopping, and I’m sold. (If you are a horse person, right now you are reading this going “Yep, the horse is clearly smarter than you are OCG.”) Overlooking the fact that he wasn’t that well behaved, his tail was completely rubbed off from a long ride in a trailer, as was most of his mane, and he was a bit pushy on the ground as well, we bought him. Thus began our life together.

We didn’t have horse legal property (Our state requires a set number of acres.) at that time so he stayed where he was, at a boarding stable. I quickly found out that other than the girl I bought him from, no one at the stable was interested in being friendly with me. This revolved mostly around the fact that I did not participate in horse shows, didn’t own a $2000 saddle, and wasn’t interested in grooming my horse to within an inch of his life and covering him with powders, sprays, clips of fake hair, and weighted shoes to make him prance like he was walking on hot coals. I like horses just as God made them, not the way people try to manipulate them into being these days.

So my horse and I spent much of our time alone. This was no problem for me, since I’m quite comfortable on my own. One day we had set out on a trail ride, and my horse was immediately up to his old tricks. Previously he and I had several intense conversations with each other, through which we had established he was not to eat while wearing a bridle (I thought), yet he was trying his darndest to eat. Every tuft of weeds or taller grass we passed, he’d take a nab at it. I’d give the reins a little pull and say “No!” and for a few minutes he’d behave. Then another clump of irresistible grass would catch his eye, and he’d make a dive for it. We were perhaps a mile out when this turned disastrous for us…well, mostly me. The edge of the trail had a sharp drop in this section, and as we walked along he spied yet another tantalizing clump of grass that he could not resist. As he lunged for it, he missed the fact that the trail sharply dropped off, which was partially concealed by the afore mentioned tantalizing grass. His feet slid and one of his front legs buckled, taking him down on one knee. With this sharp lurch, I jolted forward and rolled right over his shoulder and hit the ground in front of him. He struggled to get back up, but was sliding in the scree on the trail’s edge. He made another attempt to get back up on his front leg, while I lay in front of him with the wind completely knocked out of me, unable to get up.  This time he slid further forward, completely lost his balance and toppled over sideways, right on top of me. We slid a little farther down the slope this way, me stuck under the body of my thrashing, portly, naughty horse. Finally he was able to right himself and he trotted back up the slope to the trail. He stood at the top of the trail looking down on me with a perplexed expression on his face as if to say “What on earth are you doing laying down there in the weeds?” Still a bit stunned and not feeling able to get up I stared up at my horse and wondered what I was going to do, and how I was going to do it. After staring at me and pacing back and forth for a bit, he started snorting and looking back towards the barn. Hoping someone would see him standing around, all tacked up and riderless, and come looking for me, I told him “Go! Go to the barn!” He didn’t seem to sure of what I wanted but in the end his horsey instincts sent him back to the barn, where he was probably hoping to find his dinner waiting.

Luckily folks did notice him milling around the barnyard all tacked up, alone. Two people led him back out the trail looking for me, and I met them about halfway back, limping and stumbling along the trail. I managed to get back on him and ride back to the barn where he did in fact get his wish of dinner and detacking. Surprisingly enough I wasn’t seriously hurt, just sore and scraped and suffering from what felt like a full body sprain. This turned out to be the first of many interesting adventures I had with my naughty horse.

Since then, I’ve discovered that my horse is fiendishly clever at opening doors, even those with latch hooks, safety hooks, and leash clips. He has let himself out of his stall, along with everyone else in the barn so many times I have lost count, and stopped trying to remember. He has managed to dump everyone who’s ridden him off his back at least once, and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was enjoying that accomplishment each and every time. (Including one incident in which he very deliberately took a sharp pivot at the end of the arena, sending my friend flying face first into the wall of the pole building, making the metal ring like a gong as she slid down it to the floor.) He has also deliberately stalked and stomped our ducks on numerous occasions. Never the chickens, nor the geese. He just hates ducks for some reason that he’s never bothered to share with me. I take it as one of his many quirks.

More recently, he had to have a tooth pulled, and because of his antics it took 4 people, several doses of anesthesia, and about an hour to remove the tooth. After the removal he pretended to be dying right up until one of the ladies there at the clinic walked past him with her lovely Saddlebred mare, at which point he perked right up and started whinnying his love to the mare. (Did I mention that he never got the memo about that “gelding” thing he had done to him?) At 24 years young, he is still ever the ladies man. So much so in fact, I recently found myself having to explain to two small children (while their parents looked at me wide eyed) that he was um…playing leap frog…with his mare friend out in the pasture. Nothing like having to explain the behavior of your deviant horse to small children. Thanks, buddy, I appreciate the opportunity. (Sarcasm intended.)

Despite everything, I love my naughty horse. I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. We’ve developed an understanding over the last 15 years, namely that he’s going to be naughty and I’m going to accept that as inevitable. I hope to have many, many more years with my horse. He’s a special boy, because of his quirks.

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