I have a theory that my horse Knight understands the English language and knows exactly what is going on in the barn world. He is probably aware of the boarder planning a trip to Italy and the one who spent time in Vegas over the weekend. That little bay eavesdropper. He undoubtedly is in tune with my friend still on a search for the ideal saddle. And he for sure knows that I was planning on taking him to a horse show this upcoming weekend. I’m convinced he picks up on what we’re all talking about in the crossties.
What is the evidence Knight has one half of Mr. Ed’s super powers–the ability to listen and comprehend an English conversation (the other half–speaking English back in response hasn’t happened yet)? My trainer and I have been conspiring to attend an all-Thoroughbred show for the last few months, and Monday night during our regularly scheduled lesson, he was lame.
Knight was perfect at the walk, but the second we began to trot, something just wasn’t quite right. There was no head bobbing, no severe limping, so I kept trotting, thinking it was just stiffness.
I knew he couldn’t be over tired because he had Saturday off and Sunday I rode for about 45 minutes with lots of walking, trotting, and cantering with transitions and a few leg yields. Nothing too crazy.
My trainer said he was really dragging his left hind; she told me to stop and look at the hoof prints in the sand (just typing that makes me think of the poem Footprints in the Sand, which kind of cracks me up).
The arena footing was newly leveled and pristine. Earlier I had been excited to be the first one to ride in it. I had almost that same excitement of a kid being the first one to make new footprints in freshly fallen snow. I was not excited to see the mark of a hind foot dragging.
On the straightaway Knight was not right, but then curving around the end of the arena, he almost seemed to wince. I could feel his whole barrel move in an unfamiliar way, like he was trying to compensate.
I trotted a little bit the other direction, and walked some more, as my horse show dreams slowly dissipated. My new green hunt coat I scored at the Mary’s tent sale last month would seemingly have to wait a few more weeks for its debut.
My trainer speculated he might have been sore from getting cast. I said he didn’t have any other marks or scrapes on his body.
I then remembered how he got an abscess last year around this time–also right before a horse show (that was supposed to be his first show). His version of an abscess did not present itself typically.
Today my trainer rode him and texted me saying he seemed to be feeling better and was actually hyper. This is not usually an adjective employed to describe my Thoroughbred. So the good news is he seems fine; the bad news is I have a hyper horse that I’m taking to a new showgrounds for his fourth show ever.
Maybe if I hadn’t said the words “horse show” he would have been sound for Monday’s lesson and had the exercise so he would not have been wild today. I’ll never know for sure. But I’m starting to think that I should spell out the words h-o-r-s-e s-h-o-w just in case so he can’t schedule his “lameness” accordingly.
Your Turn: Do you know of other horses or other animals who understand English to an uncanny degree? Have you had a horse get injured or lame a few days prior to an anticipated event?