After being stepped on a couple of times, it appears that I’m paying too much attention to the horses’ feet and not enough to their heads. The other day, we were doing our usual carefully choreographed routine to get both horses out of the nice, comfy barn out to the wide open pasture. Now, the horses like being in the pasture (as long as it’s not raining, that is), but for some reason they don’t like to go out there. It probably has something to do with the gooey, mucky swamp of mud they have to cross to get there. So we have various tricks to maneuver them out there.
I have to say here that the RIGHT way to accomplish this is to halter each horse, lead them out to the pasture, stop them with a firm command, remove the halter, then walk away. The horse should not lead you out there, and should not walk away before you do. We have done it this way many, many times. However, unless we want to walk across the gooey, mucky mud-swamp, we have to take the horses out through the back of the barn, across our lawn and out through a different, drier gate. So every day, we have a choice: bring the keys, get each halter out of the tack room, halter each horse, negotiate a stall door and barn gate, drag said horse across the broad expanse of luscious, green grass, negotiate another, smaller gate, and release them in the pasture; or, just open a stall door and a barn gate and coax each horse out. We usually choose the lazier of the options. But do as we say, not as we do.
Anyway, this particular day Bill walked out to the pasture (through the “dry” gate) to lure the horses out there, while I managed the stall doors, one by one. We got the mare out (we still haven’t agreed on a barn name for her) without too much trouble, but Valentine had other ideas. Their stalls are on the west side of the barn, and his is closest to the gate. The hay is on the east side of the barn, diagonally from his stall. That’s where he wanted to be, and I was between the two. Now, he could have forced the issue – being twice my height and, we’ll say, 10 times my weight. But, lucky for me, he does respect me. However, in his search for a way past me rather than over or through me, he turned his head rather abruptly and completely clocked me upside the head. I gotta tell you, that HURT. I don’t remember any stars, but I swear I felt something shift up in there. I got a very noticeable lump on my left temple and any pressure in a 6-square-inch area up there was extremely painful for a couple of days. In fact, it’s been 6 days since it happened, and it still hurts to touch. (I know, I know, don’t touch it, then.)
So watch out for the top AND bottom of the horse. At the same time.