Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mares and the Fools Who Ride Them!

A Missed Opportunity

Since I am a girl, I guess I can safely comment on females of another species. Please don't take my observations out of context and generalize to wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, or women acquaintances. As you can imagine, my experience with women is very limited, but I have observed, first hand (paw), Dangerous' Walking Horse Dottie these past six years. In full disclosure, I have to tell you that on occasion I take great delight in revving her up. I usually choose the exact moment when Dangerous is most vulnerable and can't effectively discipline me, or control her. I wait until he has his left boot in the stirrup and is swing into his saddle. While he is suspended in midair, I dart at Dottie barking loudly, and jump as high as I can, snapping furiously at the base of her tail. Boy what fun, but you should hear the cussing. On occasion, Dangerous has even threatened to kill me, and I think he means it.

Calm and Sweet

Play the short video, and you will see a sweet, calm horse. Visitors usually lean over the fence wanting to pet and stroke the pretty pony on the other side. She stands quietly at the fence rails, letting anyone scratch her ears and rub her soft nose. But, don't be deceived by her calm demeanor. Like most mares, there are times when, to say the least, she can be difficult.

Dottie Munches Quietly

Hiding behind those soft brown eyes is a hyper attentive mare. Dottie is like most mares, extremely cautious. She is constantly surveying her surroundings on guard against possible predator attacks. While caution is a good thing, there are times when her extreme caution is hazardous to her and Ol' Dangerous. Dottie sometimes sees danger where there isn't any. Large, shadowy rocks become bears lying in wait. When she catches sight of one, her head comes up, her ears and nose point rigidly towards the threat, and her muscles tighten up. Fearing imminent attack, she can jump right out from under Dangerous leaving him hanging in midair. It isn't the hanging that's a problem, but the landing.

Water isn't Her Favorite Thing!

Looking at the picture, you would think Dottie loves water. Let's put it this way. After six years hard riding, Dangerous gets her to cross most streams. However, she still doesn't like mud puddles, black mud, or mountain bogs. To this day, Dangerous has to really encourage her to cross narrow, rocky trickles that she thinks might suck her in. You have to remember she is St. George bred and raised. Before Dangerous bought her, Dottie thought water was only something you drink from a trough on a hot day. She prefers her water clear and flat, and if possible, directly from the hose. According to Dangerous, there is some poetic justice in the world. Dangerous bought Dottie from his riding buddy Bill who supposedly introduced her to crossing water. Well, Bill is now struggling to teach Dottie's sister Bug about water, and as you can guess, Dangerous knowingly smiles when Bill tells him about Bugs water phobia.

Best Place in the World

Dangerous will tell you that 95% of the time Dottie is a pleasure to ride. She has a sweet gate, and goes about anywhere he points her nose. But, because she is a mare, there will always be those moments when she is difficult and temperamental. A lot of Dangerous' riding buddies won't ride mares, but if he started getting rid of all the female horses, dogs, and cats around the place, he would be pretty lonely. It isn't like he doesn't have experience. Dottie is his fourth mare, and all of them have been challenging. More riding at Walking Horse speeds is what Dottie needs most. I suspect that's exactly what Dangerous has planned for us. So watch out as we speed by on the trail. Remember, Dottie is the one with the darting ears and soft brown eyes checking every sight and sound, and I am the short one trying to keep up with my tongue hanging out while gasping for air.

We are off again next week to do some late season hiking. Nature Dan is joining us, and we are going to southeastern Utah to visit more Indian ruins. I should have some interesting observations to share because this year we are taking the sheep camp rather than staying at Recapture Lodge. Three men and a sheep dog living in close quarters might sound like fun to you, but I am not sure. The trip should produce more interesting material that I will share when we get back. Stay tuned! When we return, I plan to post Mississippi Max's commentary on his last visit, and yes, it is a poem.

Love to hear from you!

No comments: