I love blackberries and blackberry jam, don’t you?
Luckily, (or unluckily – depending upon your infestation) blackberries abound in our neck of the woods.
We don’t have any on our property (Yay!) but the rampant bushes exist all around outside our gates and on the trails.
Many moons ago, I taught my previous and recently knighted trailhorse, Aladdin, all about blackberries. We’d hunt them on trail rides and he would wait quietly as I scooped up the most sun warmed morsels for him to slobber up.
Aladdin, being the mannered and gentlemanly gelding that he was, always remained patient and accommodating during our blackberry hunts. He would let me mount and dismount as often as required in order to find the exact right berries for our consumption.
Since this was such an enjoyable experience for us, I thought it would be a bonding opportunity for Finn and me.
So, I taught him about blackberries.
That was my mistake.
Our first foray into blackberries was quite simple. I told him Whoa. I got off. He stood there while I picked a few berries. I ate one and made the “ummmm nom nom” sound. He pricked his ears. I offered a luscious berry to Finn. He sniffed it and looked at me. I told him to “go ahead”. He sniffed and then gently pursed his lips and picked up the berry between them as he continued to train his eyes on me.
“You’re OK, just eat it!”, I said.
Finn: Are you sure? It smells kinda sour…
Me: Yes! Eat it! You will love it and beg for more.
Finn (drooling a bit now with the berry still between his lips): What if I hate it?
Me: You can spit it out. Besides, this will be a very fun thing we can do together. Berry Hunting!
Finn: I’m a horse. We don’t hunt.
Me: You will once you taste one, now EAT IT.
And, he did.
That was the start of the problem…
We need an intervention.
Finn is hooked on blackberries.
As soon as I take him out of the trailer, his eyes start searching for the bushes. He races along the trail, running up to any bush that might contain a blackberry. Then he pleads with me to get off and feed him. If I say NO, he pouts. He refuses to move.
He believes he needs blackberries to survive.
HIS ADDICTION HAS EFFECTED ME IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS…
Although Finn allows me to mount, he is jittery. He needs his fix. The smell of blackberry is in the air.
Along the trail, he concentrates on nothing else except where he will find his next juicy bite.
He knows the best bushes lurk in the partially sunny areas. His favorites are the berries that are back off of the trail. Those are less dusty, more pure.
He searches and motors forward without a thought on how his single-mindedness is ruining my ride. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t notice. It makes no difference how his berry fixation is hurting me. He continues without even a glance in my direction.
Once he spots a bush, he rushes towards it.
GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!
Finn inserts himself into the middle of the bush and demands that I find him some berry.
He points his muzzle where he thinks the berries might be and waits – ears twitching.
If I don’t dismount, he turns to look at me. “Well??!! – Get off and get me someadat! Now!”
I watch as Finn starts his ‘Stevie Wonder Head Bop and Weave’. He swings his head back and forth, trying to anticipate which of my mounted hands holds the berries. He continues to fidget and weave.
I tell him that I have no berries. Finn becomes obviously agitated.
“How dare you! I carry you all around. The least you can do is get me some BERRY!”
So, being the indulgent trail rider, I dismount.
I carefully make my way into the very prickly bush that now is grabbing at my tights claiming, “I got you! And I plan to destroy your best riding pants!”
I cringe. Yet, I continue.
I feel Finn’s hot breath on my neck…
I look around for the most purple of the berries. I need the most sun drenched and ready to fall morsel for my dearest.
But, it appears I am taking too long with my decision.
Darling Finn is becoming increasingly more agitated.
“Aw fur criminy sakes, just pick the darn thing wouldja?!”
Finn pushes in and tries to nibble the bush himself.
He jumps back, “Ouchy crapola! OK, you do it – just do it faster!!”
Finn doesn’t care about my well being. He just wants his fix. Clearly, I’m riding with an addict.
I reach into my pouch to try to distract him from his addiction with a Blueberry Chia bar.
He takes it. He eats it.
And then demands more berry.
‘GIMME THE JUICE!”
THIS FIX IS YOUR LAST
I tell him that this berry is his last.
Finn: “Sure, sure, anything you say… just get me my berry.”
Me: Why do you insist upon berry? What does it do for you?
Finn: “When I eat berry, everything is peaceful. The juices flow down my throat and sooth my mind. The sugar courses through my veins and I fell like a superhorse! I feel I can do anything! I need it.”
I look upward towards Aladdin and shake my head.
What have I done…
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