February 24, 2016

A Horse of a Different Color

I received the following anonymous letter in the mail earlier today:
To a fellow horse lover: 
I am on your road alot and have noticed your two beautiful horses for quite awhile. 
Now I am saddened by the condition I see them in due to the rain of the last few months. Your white horse is hardly white any more. It is so unhealthy for them to stay in such conditions. It does create problems for their feet and their general state of mind.
A fellow horse lover
Since said horse lover did not leave a return address, phone number or sign the letter that they felt the need to pay for postage on, I was unable to send them my response. So, here's hoping someone will pass along this little bit of information to them.

Dearest "Fellow Horse Lover":

While I see you are a lover of horses, and I appreciate that, I really do, it appears you have loved them from afar and never owned one of your own. I say that because, had you owned your own or possibly had any common sense at all, you would know that horses roll for a few reasons. Allow me to enlighten you:

  1. For pleasure. Now, I know...your eyeballs just fell right out of your head. How dare these majestically animals find pleasure in rolling in the *gasp* mud. It's true. They enjoy it.
  2. For self-maintenance or grooming. Since you have loved from afar, you may not be familiar that horses have hooves not hands, therefore, grooming themselves tends to be difficult. Hence the rolling, particularly in pre-spring months when their many layers of insulation (ie: fur) begins to shed. {Sidenote: if you see my two horses 'biting' each other. Don't call equine social services. Neither is in an abusive relationship. They're simply scratching each other because they are itchy.)
  3. To rest. You know when you've stood on your feet all day? All 150+lbs of you? Well my horses are roughly 1200lbs each. While they stand 90% of the time, they do tend to give all four hooves a break and sprawl out on the ground from time to time just to rest their legs. {I know, I should replace the front part of our pen with a Serta Beautyrest. Believe me, if I could...totally would.}
  4. To relieve pain or discomfort. Laying down/rolling is a tell-tale sign if a horse is colicing (equine for super-sick). This is one of the few times you will see a cowgirl cry. I can't even be light-hearted here because colic is no laughing matter. I take it beyond serious when one of my horses lays down for a longer-than-normal-for-him amount of time. 
So, now that we are on the same page with why horses roll, allow me to explain why said horses remain dirty after they roll in the winter time.

While I brush my horses daily, the luster and shininess does not reappear in their coats until 1) they lose their winter fuzz, or 2) they get bathed. Since the temperatures in our area have not been consistently above 50-60 degrees in several months, it would literally be cruel to bathe them. Horses, as I mentioned, have several layers of fur, which, as you can imagine, does not dry quickly. When horses are wet, they roll to aid in the drying process. {Do you see the vicious cycle here?}

This leads me to my next point. 

A few weeks ago, our Pastor spoke about a story of a man, his boy and their donkey. The man and his son were leading the donkey into town to go to the market. They passed some townspeople and they laughed and pointed, calling them fools for not riding the donkey.

The man put his son on the donkey and carried on. Then they passed a few more people.

"Look at that lazy boy, making his father walk by the donkey," they said.

So the man got on the donkey, with his son. A few moments later, they passed more townsfolk.

"That poor donkey, you should be ashamed overloading him with the weight of two people!" they said.

So the man and the boy dismounted and decided it best to carry the donkey into town.

My point? Someone will always have a comment, a way they would do it better, a solution to a problem you didn't even know you had. It's up to you how you take it.

I'll admit, when I read your anonymous letter, my blood pressure was for sure at stroke level. I was so angry that someone dare think I would mistreat my animals, and then be so spineless to not own their statement. {I have a metal spine...and it is oh.so.fitting.} While the ignorance on the subject you spoke on is your problem, my reaction is all on me. So, I'm going to choose to hug my dirty babies and have a fantastic evening. My wish for you, the next time you pass my majestically-dirty horses, is that you choose to look in the direction of the boat yard and keep on keeping on. 

Yours Truly,

A Legal Ass...& A Dignified Cowgirl ;-)

(AKA: Eden Hope Saunders)

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