Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I still bounce. I know this because I got the opportunity yesterday to find out.

I realize that what I experience in a day is not common in the world outside of the horse industry. Sometimes the large animals knock me around. Yesterday Laddy got spooked at the gate as the farrier tried to shoo the other horses away, so he made a move. Over me. I have this thing about not letting go of the rope, so I got dragged a little and then I got a good case of rope burn. I really should have let go, as he got loose anyway. But I never let go. So I should get back into the habit of gloves.

I also know better than to let people help me, as it usually goes wrong. But he insisted I needed help and would not be dissuaded. Unfortunately, my horses lead a sheltered life. This is a private farm, so there is not a lot of outside activity for my horses. There is routine and all things familiar. A man at the gate flapping a cap was too much for spooky Laddy. And there was that truck parked right there.

This is for those who don't know horses. They are prey animals, they are dinner for predators. This gives them a flight instinct; those with the strong instinct are more likely to survive than those without it. Except for one like Laddy. He stops thinking when he is frightened, leading to mindless reaction. In the wild, if he didn't end up dinner, he would surely end up committing suicide. For humans dealing with horses, the lack of survival tendency is not necessarily a bad thing. The 'dead heads' may not survive the mountain lion, but the human will survive life with the horse!

I have bred many mares and raised lots of foals. Sometimes the way the genes work surprises you. Laddy is the product of two wonderful horses. His sire is one of the nicest, most even tempered horses I have ever known. The mare will do anything I ask of her. Laddy cannot trust. A horse which is incapable of trust can never be trusted. So you are left scratching your head. It's called a nick, and these two bloodlines don't nick. I'm also left taking care of a horse that is of no use. But I caused him to be, so I care for him. And for two others that did not nick well.

Lest I leave an impression that horses are dangerous I want to say that this is not so. Of course they are large and they can think, which means they can have an idea different from your own. But they don't want to hurt you and most never do. It is the business of raising them and the number of them which sometimes puts me on the ground. The vast majority of horse owners never experience what I do. And since I stopped raising foals, I don't experience what it feels like to be hit by a linebacker much anymore. Except when nervous Laddy is overwhelmed by the guy with the cap and needs to exit. We'll blame it on the cap and let Laddy off the hook. If you have ever spent time with crazy horse people you know it's never the horse's fault.

I learned I still bounce. I got up, kept the horse from leaving and got him safely into the paddock. I was sore last night, but feel alright this morning. My hand is a bit of a mess, but it will be OK.  How's that for a glimpse into the life.

This is the reason why I did it. And why I still do.


  1. Ouch is right! Rope burns HURT! But we don't get mad at our babies ... It is clear how much you love these regal, incredible creatures. Love the photos of them frolicking in the fields. Take care!

  2. Ha! It's good to know you still bounce. I wish I could say the same was true for me.

    Poor Laddy, he must have been frightened out of his mind. Thank goodness he has you and World's End Farm so he can feel/be safe!

    He's a gorgeous boy and it's easy to see why he is loved. Who could look into the eyes of an animal and do them any kind of harm?

    I know there are breeders,both equine and canine that take full responsibility for the animals they breed, from birth to death. Unfortunately, we only hear of the ones that don't.

  3. Glad you are okay! Laddy is a lucky boy that you are there for him. Beautiful photos.

  4. Sandra, I'm so glad you wrote this. You are right about your life being extraordinary. What an amazing group of photos and story you have to tell. I've often thought I should go to your archives to learn more about the horses and your farm, but haven't...You must have been reading my mind. What we do for love huh? I know your hand will heal quickly and you'll be wearing new gloves soon. Blessings.

  5. I do not know of course who the man with the cap was, but if he has been around horses at all he should have known better. A tiny bird flying too close has been known to spook a big, massive piece of muscles and long legs so I cannot understand how he thought that shooing either Laddy or trying to stop him with that cap was going to work.

    I am sorry about the rope burn, been there, done that and it hurts like there is no tomorrow. If you grow aloe that was just about the only thing it worked for me. Then again, as you know, I am weird.
    I hope you have a better day today, at least one without any kind of burn.

  6. Laddy is lucky to have you. I haven't had to tangle with a frightened horse but I've done a terrified cat & come out the worse for wear! ☺ Cuts & nicks & rope burn heal but an animal that has lost its trust may never regain it so if Laddy still trusts you you're one up already.

    Ditz & I went singing yesterday & the lads had a meltdown all over Dearest. He can only take so much, poor boy. Goodness only knows what will happen when Ditz & I have to go away!

  7. Trust is key and I was able to learn that quickly after I met Johnnie and his horses. I knew I had to gain the mares trust in order for me to be with them and help care for them. My favorite was one of the foals, he let me do anything to him, oh how I just loved him. However they are still big animals and I knew I was on their turf.

    I always enjoy your stories and pictures,glad you are feeling better today.

  8. My family used to breed, raise, ride, and show Quarter Horses. Possibly, the best years of my life. I have had my share of rope burn. The photos are beautiful!

  9. Sorry to hear you were knocked over but glad to hear you are alright today! I think the horses at your farm are all very lucky to have you caring for them. You really seem to know them well and care a great deal.Shows what kind of a person you are!

  10. I can imagine the whole incident quite easily and I feel your pain.....no, I have felt your pain! :~) Occasionally I am reminded why gloves are a good idea. I wear them most of the time.

    But we keep doing it for the moments that take our breath away.

  11. Bonnie, I can get mad at them, but it never lasts long.

    gsc, Laddy doesn't have much of a mind to be frightened out of! He is a reactor and not a thinker. If a time comes when I can't care for him I will put him down. I won't have him on a truck to a slaughter plant.

    Jill, I was a bit premature in the assessment of my body. By the time I finished getting the horses out yesterday I was quite sore. I guess I don't bounce as well as I thought!

    Deb, I don't write about the horses often, so you probably wouldn't find a lot of information in the archives. I think I should buy some gloves. ; )

    Allegra, in his defense, the farrier was flapping his cap at the horses who were crowding the gate. They could not have cared less about him, they were intent upon poking their noses where they did not belong. Laddy was way up on his toes, so any opportunity to blow, he was going to take it. I need to be more forceful when someone insists on helping me. I know these guys best and know how to diffuse an explosion (usually). I should know better. The ultimate responsibility lies with me.

    Ganeida, poor Dearest. You may need to pack the kitties in your bag. : )

    Judy, you need a horse! When you told your story about the thoroughbreds I was so taken by how you were able to get those mares and foals to trust you. It's not easy. Poor Lad Man can only trust me so far.

    Missy, you know the life. I'm sure your world revolved around the horses, to the exclusion of most everything else. It's quite the life!

    Lorac, my husband would tell you I am a crazy person!

  12. Jean, I know you do wear gloves. I did, but when the last pair wore out, I did not replace them. Lately they have been annoying me more than awing me! I know they are stir-crazy, but come on. They're like a bunch of unruly kids. We were just talking about Laddy the other day. He's still crazy. : )

  13. I'm glad you are not to worse for the situation.

    The close up photo of your horse. Swoon.

    You are such a nurturing soul. It must be equal parts exhaustion and ecstasy.

  14. deb, that is beautiful Sophie. I'd had the photographer out for the stallions. She was waiting for us to get one of them and took this of Sophie. So pretty she did not need prep. It is, I think more exhaustion, but whose measuring!

  15. I don't know how I've missed all these gorgeous posts, these amazing photos and words. I need to visit here more -- thank you.


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