What’s that saying about dogs being better humans than we humans are? Well, I want to extend that adage to horses.
Knight and his former foe are now BFFs, and they couldn’t be cuter together.
Knight just moved to a new stall as a result of trying to make lifestyle changes so he’s less prone to ulcers. And now his next door neighbor is the horse he tried to annihilate last year.
(Speaking of ulcers, did you check out my recent blog post about how to prevent them and join in the magnificent Ulcergard Giveaway?!? Go do that right now and then come back to read about Knight and his summer bromance.)
The short version of this stall tale is that he used to have an amazing 24 x 24 pipe corral with mountain views, but when he kept having repeat bouts of mild colic and then we found out he had ulcers, he seemed to LOVE the coziness of a box stall. I think he felt vulnerable in such an open and on-the-end pipe corral. After all, the barn is located within a large county park that has coyotes, and the occasional mountain lion.
Knight Needs a New Place to Call His Own
Something changed over the last few months and although I’m happy to report my horse finally started whinnying when I showed up to his stall, I don’t think it was a “Hello, favorite person!” greeting, but a “Glad you’re here to get me out of this cubby hole!”
He’d sometimes leap wildly out of the stall, like he couldn’t get out of it fast enough.
Was he having fights through the wall with another horse he couldn’t see?
Did he just not like being in a 12 x 12 space?
So over the last several weeks my trainer and I have been contemplating finding a new stall for Knight. One that’s larger than the 12 x 12, one where he is not on the end of an aisle nor in the last row of an aisle.
And the perfect stall became available earlier this month.
The stall is in the middle of an aisle, in the middle of the rows, and has one whole side of the corral open to another horse, where Knight could nuzzle and touch a neighbor.
And the horse is a horse of one of my riding buddies. Perfect, right?
But this is the same horse toward which Knight had an uncharacteristic violent outburst.
If you read my post When Good Horses Go Ballistic (which went viral on Facebook and I was kinda surprised)–it’s that horse! The horse I thought Knight wanted to kill! Or at least thrash to pieces.
I still don’t know why Knight freaked out that day, but since then he and this big gelding have gone on trail rides together with no problem. A few weeks ago we walked around the arena with the gelding and his owner, with just a few feet between us, chatting all the while. They seemed like two peas in a pod.
The Stall Change Game Plan
On the first day of new stall residency which was actually just an afternoon (to see how he’d do) I was told Knight and his former foe were great.
Since then I’ve had two barn friends mention separately, something to the effect, “Knight looks happy in his new stall. I noticed when I walked by.”
And my trainer texted me to say after she rode him the second day, as she was walking Knight to cool him out, when she rounded the corner that was formerly his path to his old box stall, he started walking like a slow poke. She said she was sure he didn’t want to go back to the box stall.
And then he resumed a normal pace when he figured out he wasn’t headed that direction!
When I have shown up the few times since he’s been in his new digs, Knight has been sidled up next to the other gelding, the only thing separating them being the pipe corral bars.
And when I’ve brought him back to his new home after riding, his new BFF neighbor and the horse in the pipe corral behind him have both nickered to him.
And when I posted the above image in my Instagram stories showing Knight and his pal. His owner sent me a message.
She said that her horse LOVES Knight and every time she goes to get her horse, he and Knight are standing together.
She also said that her horse will eat his grain and Knight will stick his nose through the bars and she swears her horse will spit some of his food out for Knight and that Knight snacks on it like a baby bird!
So much love! So much horsey brotherhood!
I’m still not sure what went down that day on the crossties when Knight screamed and double barrel kicked at this horse, but they apparently have put that in the past and have moved on.
I know my Thoroughbred is sensitive and so am I. But I think I can learn a lesson from him. I’ve never been in a violent situation like the one from his ballistic day, but I have had my feelings hurt by a co-worker, friend or family member.
And even thought I don’t intend to, sometimes I carry those “outbursts”–whether intended to hurt me or not–around for years.
If only I could be more like my sensitive horse who lives in the moment and can enjoy someone he formerly couldn’t stand.
And if only I could be like my friend’s gelding who obviously didn’t let an angry outburst color his forever perception of the horse that has become his new best friend.
Horses and dogs can both be better humans than we humans are.
These two dark geldings I’m proud to know are living proof.
Your Turn: Have you witnessed a horse being a better human than humans? (Go ahead and leave a comment in the comment section.)
Thanks for reading!
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