When I was a young man, even as boy, I had a horse. I enjoyed riding horses with my friend. In those days, TV shows like Bonanza and Gun Smoke were popular, so riding a horse for me put me in the same league as “Hoss” or “Festus.”
Our family farm is adjacent to a horse boarding business, so I get to see beautiful horses and their caring owners. This past week, my daughter observed my grandson making friends with a couple of horses. He is two, and the horses are about 14 hands tall. He looks up to them, observing them without fear. They look down to him and are thinking, “I wish they stayed small” or “Is he our owner?” OK, so I’m no horse whisperer- even though I look an awful lot like Robert Redford!
It’s amazing to me that bond between children and animals. I think they speak a secret language and there is a special respect (usually) that the animal affords the little one.
My love of horses is a bit guarded. My horse growing up would have to be coaxed with a hat full of oats to come near enough to put a bridle on her. If she put her nose over the hat and found it empty, she would whirl around and try to kick me. If I didn’t have any oats in my hat I had to move in fast or be kicked. When riding her, she would sometimes try to rub me off on the fence line. Any wonder why her name was Spooky. She was albino white with blue and pink eyes. Even so, the experience was great and I loved my horse with all her foibles.
What a wonderful world we live in, where the opportunities of communing with nature and its beasts are afforded to those of us with opposable thumbs. What a fun experience to observe the little ones getting their first glimpses of animals as they try to communicate with them as only a child can.
Now I have to teach my grandchildren all about electric fences. I’m still pondering how to do this. If you have any suggestions, let me know.