Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Friendly and Fresh

When I stepped out of my car today, I heard Harley whinny from his paddock.  How sweet.  Couple the fact that he hadn't seen me in a week with the notion that his buddy was already in the barn and I had one lonely pony.  He was waiting at the gate when I got there and I could not resist giving him a kiss on his velveteen nose.  He eagerly shoved his nose in his halter as I gave him the once over.  Besides some tangles in his mane and tail, he looked relatively clean.  I have cared for grays before, so I know how messy they can be.  Even though he is very light-colored, Harley is not much of a mud worshiper.  Off-white seems to wear dirt rather well anyway.  I walked him back to the barn and he was all happiness with shiny, bright eyes and a swing in his step.

I got out the grooming kit and set to work.  I hadn't gotten far and was just brushing his neck, when the barn owner mentioned that I did not appear to be wearing riding clothes.  Alas.  I wanted to ride, but my body was not quite up to it yet.  I had only gotten one good night sleep in the past week and was prone to coughing fits.  I am sure that Harley would take care of me, but I have difficulty setting limits when it comes to riding.  I would end up riding for an hour, working up a sweat, and possibly setting myself back another week.  I am already fighting off two infections.  I do not need a third!

So I purposely did not wear riding clothes.  I knew that this would (most likely) keep me out of the saddle.  Although, let me tell you, Harley is one charismatic fellow and difficult to resist.  Despite creeping thoughts of "just a walk around the paddock", I stuck to my guns and the grooming kit.

I barely finished responding to the barn owner's inquiry by confirming that I was not riding today, when Harley started to paw with his right front foot.  I was standing on his right side, brushing his neck.  Before I could finish scolding him for his behavior, he deliberately brought his right front leg to the side and plopped his hoof on top of my foot!  I was so surprised that I barely knew how to react.  His hoof was gone almost as soon as it grazed my foot.  His stunt had been without pressure or force against my shoe, so I was completely unharmed, but no less stunned by his clear demonstration of frustration.

"Excuse me..."
"...but it sounds like you said..."
"...no riding?!  What gives?"
 (These pictures are from a different day when Harley was demonstrating how he can stretch his front legs on his own using the "elbow touch" Spanish walk precursor exercise.  I thought they were more amusing in this context.)

"What do you mean?  We are not riding today?"

Rather then continue my original notion to scold him, I just apologized and told him that I would give him a good grooming. 

"We will ride later in the week.  I promise!"

Harley is definitely not the kind of horse that likes to be idle.  I think that I underestimate this sometimes.  He is rarely fresh, but this behavior definitely qualified!  No offense Harley.  I do not like to be idle either, but I do want to be able to speak above a hoarse croak and without coughing incessantly some time in the near future, so I am just going to have to give it some time.  I know that I could get up there and ride today and it would be no problem, until I felt worse later.  Thankfully, spring break is just around the corner.  Plenty of time for resting, riding, and cleaning my house, because that needs to be done, too!

What do you think?  Did Harley recognize that I was not wearing riding clothes?  Did he understand when I said "no" to the question about riding?  What does he understand exactly? 

Apparently a great many things!

14 comments:

  1. I bet he noticed the lack of riding attire...

    Have you reminded Harley about the break he had to take a while back? Didn't he have a little infection of his own that slowed him down?!

    Hope you're back to wearing your riding clothes to the barn and feeling 100% soon Val!

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    1. You are right! I should remind him. ;) And thanks.

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  2. I think they understand an awful lot. I'm sure the clothes and your energy level tipped him off.

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    1. He did a good job of waking me up, that's for sure!

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  3. I'd say that was a pout. A Hrrumph of sorts. Maybe a little perturbed that you hadn't been around too. Silly boy. I am glad you managed not to ride, I am sure that was no easy task. Take care of yourself, and I hope you're back to your healthy self very soon.

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    1. Thanks. Definitely a pout. I was like "give me a break, dude!"

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  4. Aren't horses smart ....I bet Harley wanted a ride....but you're right. SOmetimes you just have to listen to your own body and take the time to get better. It will mean you will be fit and ready for a fantastic summer. I started my easter break today .....YAY.Two weeks off school ....to ride and enjoy my horses!!

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    1. I felt like I was treading water until Spring Break. I wish everyone got to have time off like this (although they may not like the 40 pounds of paperwork that I brought home with me!).

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  5. I think they understand more than we think they do. He's a character.

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  6. Of course Harley can understand English. Why would you think otherwise ;)

    My boy is also good at determining my intent to ride or not. Unfortunately his work ethic is exactly opposite of Harley's.

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    1. Oh, Coriander. ;) Maybe Gwen got an unfair share of the motor in the family!

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  7. Well, if you are like me and re-wear stanky riding clothes, perhaps he smelled that you didn't smell ;)
    I know when I do pop ins during the work day, in my work clothes and 'smell' different, Laz sniffs me head to toe snuffle snuffle snuffle. They know A LOT. I think we give so many little cues that must be so obvious to them. PS I love Harley's black dipped legs.

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    1. Okay, you have me laughing with this one.

      You mean like re-wear the same riding pants covered in horse hair so people at WaWa question why you are covered in fur and little do they know you have not been to the barn yet?

      No. I would never do that!
      ;)

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