Well, this whole week, as you know, I’ve been working in the ridiculous hours of Production. It is true that Hollywood wants every impossible thing NOW. So, the days have been 18 hours long and I’ve been completely fried at the end of each.
So, basically, when it came to feeding duties, I’ve been throwing hay at them every morning/night and topping off their water. That’s it. The bare minimum to sustain horsey life. Oh, I may coo a little something as I throw the flakes over the fences in pitch darkness but I really don’t know who I’m cooing towards should any of them change their ‘feeding positions’. I’m just guestimating that if I see a large form in this area, it must be “blank”… However, I have no idea if blank is bleeding or has ripped off an ear since it is pitch dark, but I figure if they can make it to dinner, they’re probably fine. Mostly, I’m just barely managing to wrangle the flashlight and the wheelbarrow as I stumble along, tripping on rocks and dodging pelting rain.
The other morning, as I was dragging myself out of bed – once again – to feed at 0dark100, Hubby felt pity on me and offered to feed for the next 48 hours (during the actual shoot). He hates to feed so this is very special indeed… Anyway, for the last two days then, I haven’t even gazed upon their furry faces or even breezed by in the dark. I haven’t so much as uttered a sound in their direction. I’ve essentially vanished from their world.
But, I don’t think they really cared.
In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen any of them jump for joy when they see me after an absence – unless they’ve missed a meal. They are always happy to see me if their tummy is growling… You know what I mean.. But, if I’ve been away for two week and then return, there is no horsey fanfare. Sure, they greet me with their nickers and some of them always herald my car on the driveway, but they aren’t overjoyed like my dogs. My dogs can barely contain themselves when I reappear after even a few hours… if I’m gone for a week, my dogs would most likely craft a red carpet and go rent some horns to serenade me upon my return. But my horses, nah.
I started really thinking about this and my conclusion was that to horses, FOOD IS KING. I may be queen, but food is king. I say this because if their tummies are full, all of them will come to the fence if they see me. So, I know they like me. But, if I have a treat, they all run to the fence. If I come home in the middle of the day, they will all meander over to the driveway and watch me drive up. But, if it is dinner time and they see me come home, they all run and buck and make a ruckus as I come up the driveway.
Food is King, and I am queen.
To prove my theory, I decided to bring my camera out on the first feeding upon my return. It was dinner time. They were all hungry. And, just as I thought, almost none of them even noted that I had returned. I could have been the Boogeyman or Mary Queen of Scots and they would have treated me the same way. As long as I was throwing food over, I was good. If I was late or took a detour or (god forbid) fed a dog or cat first, all fire and brimstone would break out. So, I don’t think they really miss me at all.
However, I do need to give notice to three of them. There were three of them that actually gave me, the human, a little nod as if they wanted me to know that they were happy to see me, food or not.
I have to give the FIRST PRIZE for Mommy Awareness to Dodger.
He actually will not even look at the flake of hay until after he has greeted me. I find this such an endearing quality. Here he is, this tiny and getting older Shetland pony that I rescued from the meat buyer 15 years ago. He was frightened then and it took him about 3 years to not circle around the outside of the herd… In fact, it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that he started making real eye contact with me. Don’t get me wrong, he was always polite, just reserved… But, three years ago the farrier said, “isn’t this the one that we could never catch?” and I would say, “yup”. But, he turned a corner and now he knows he lives here, I guess.
But, whatever he is thinking, at this point, he will greet me whether he is hungry or not. I find this so sweet. He is such an honest and kind horse. Here is a picture of him as he sticks his nose through the fence to give me a kiss BEFORE dinner.
Second prize goes to Bodhi. He is just a good natured and congenial individual. I think he would greet anyone that came to his pasture with his soft, low nicker. But what I love about him is that he is always willing to walk away from food to give me a kiss or a nicker. Here is a photo of him as he followed me away from his pasture. You can see that Remi is eating but he is following me. I turned around and he stopped and nickered. He is so sweet. I like to think that he was asking me, “Hey, where’ve you been?”
Third prize goes to Finn. He may not really acknowledge me when I’m feeding, but as soon as he has his hay and has taken a bite, he will raise his head and give me a kiss. This photo is of his kisser as he is just about to put it through the fence to smack me. I have always thought of this as a simple, Thank you, instead of an Hello. So, it doesn’t really count here because he does that every time I feed.
I’m adding this photo of Finn and BG in the dark. I thought it was cool. As I walked away from their paddock, I turned around and they both looked up at me at once.
I’m giving fourth prize to Remi. She is the mare who stares at me all the time. I don’t know whether she missed me, but I did note that she continued to keep her eyes on me even after she was fed and after the sun was almost down. I like that about her in a stalker kind of way… I took this photo as the sun was setting. Can you see why the old guy that adopted her from the BLM called her, Headlight? Not a very pretty name but perhaps appropriate.
If food is King and I am queen, that’s OK. I’m not going to fight that. After all, they are prey animals and food is survival. So, I’m just going to be happy that all of my horses will come greet me if they see me outside of the house. That’s enough for me. Just knowing that they are willing to expend the energy to come see if they could entice me over to their paddock every time they see me, makes me feel good.
I wonder if they wonder if they are important to me?… I wonder if they think the car or the house are more important than them? After all, when I come outside, I either get in my car, go into the house, or go see them. It is true that every time I come outside, someone will nicker or call out to me. And, even though I always politely call back, I don’t always go over to see them. Hmmmmm.