January 28, 2011

My horse Tucker sighs. Not at random moments, either, but in situations where a sigh would be appropriate – when I keep him waiting too long while I chat with someone, or we enter the arena and he knows there’s work to be done.

Soon after he came to me, I was watching him in the paddock with a couple of other horses. He barged over to the water trough, forcing another horse away. “Tucker!” I yelled. “That’s so rude!” He looked straight at me then turned and walked away from the trough. Then – I swear – he heaved a great sigh. He couldn’t have stated more clearly that I was being stupid but he would nonetheless humor me.

Tucker is something of an escape artist. At Ottertail Farm, his nickname was Houdini. He can reach his head over a stall door, unlatch it with his mouth, and push it open. Nobody has seen him perform this trick. They just find the door open and Tucker outside grazing. Once, at Traumerei Farm, the owner found him and two other horses loose – the two horses that just happened to be his pasture mates. The others were still locked in.

No Problem Keeping Weight on this Horse!

Tucker Enjoying a Treat

He can be quite a show-off in the right circumstances. Point a camera at another horse and Tucker will prance along the fence calling attention to himself. He knows he’s a star! I showed him for the first time on one of those Midwestern summer days when the air feels like hot soup, but he behaved beautifully – until I screwed up a test so thoroughly the judge blew her whistle and ended it. For the rest of the afternoon, my sweet horse became an angry beast, bucking and trying to bolt, as though punishing me for the humiliation. The second time I showed him, we placed first in two tests and third in another. The judge wrote, “You’re lucky to have such a kind horse who tries so hard for you.”

I am lucky to have Tucker. I was going to ride him at a clinic today, but he had trouble with his left rear leg. I doubt it’s serious. He’s most likely sore from standing for the farrier on Wednesday. At seventeen year old, he has a few health issues. Arthritis, for one. Of course I’ll go on loving and caring for him if he becomes too lame to ride, but hopefully it won’t happen for a long time. Like many human beings, Tucker needs his work.

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