Have you ever wondered why they stand where they stand?
I mean, we all say “OK, it is shady there and that is why they stand there.” Sure. That makes sense and I agree. But, there has to be more to it than that or they would stand under any shady tree, not just the one they stand under every single day of their lives…
So I stepped back and thought about where I stand — or sit, as the case may be. I realized that I sit in one chair. Here is a picture of my little nest. I sit near the fireplace. I have a little table for my water and I can see the TV although not well. I have several mismatched pillows on it and a totally beat-up down comforter. Sometimes the cat sits there with me.
Why do I sit in that chair? There are many other more comfortable places to sit. I have a lovely down couch that faces the TV, has access to a nice coffee table and has a view outside. I could sit at the kitchen table which has wonderful light and looks outside. I could sit outside on the patio table with newly stuffed cushions and look outside or inside, if I wanted. But no, I sit in the same chair all the time… Am I an old man in a young woman’s body?
Come to think of it, my Sicilian Grandfather always sat in one big leather recliner with his Chihuahau. If he wasn’t still alive at my birth I would think that maybe I was him. Or, maybe his genes are shining through clearly in me. Anyway, my point is that we choose a place to hang out because we like it there. I like it in my chair. I feel comfortable and peaceful. It just feels better than the couch or the kitchen table. And, although I love sitting outside at the patio table, my inside chair has no mosquitoes. So, I sit in my chair whenever I want that cozy feeling.
I think the horses do, too.
Armed with my theory, I marched outside to
take picture of my horses standing in their spots and then I pushed them aside, gently, turned the camera and took a photo from their spots. I was hoping to perhaps glimpse into why they stand where they stand. The actual photo taking was the easiest assignment I had given myself in a long time. They were all exactly where they usually are and it took me about 10 minutes to bee-line it to them and do my task.
So, here goes…
1) Pasture #1 is the Shetland/Donkey pasture.
They have two standing positions. One is by the gate at the front of their pasture and one is by the gate at the side of their pasture. Obviously, gates mean a lot to them. I crouched down low to pony height and snapped these viewpoints.
While taking these shots inside their pasture, I actually felt the desire to get out as well. It isn’t as if this pasture is bad. It is quite large, in fact. It has the largest Oak tree on the property and ample shade. But, it is the furthest pasture. It butts up against an empty field and the road. So, they want out.
I think they stare at the front gate because it looks at the house. They can see the front and back doors so they gather at the gate to watch for me at feeding time or listen if they hear the doorknobs jingle. Clearly, this is a no-brainer.
Then, I sat at the side gate and looked. It was a very pretty view. I could see two of the other pastures, the cows across the street, the pond at my neighbor’s that is full of geese and the road. Hmmmm. It seemed to me that the ponies and the donkey just want to be involved. They don’t want to miss anything and everything that happens, happens beyond the gates.
Luckily, I do let them out at least twice a week to wander around the property. And they do just that. They wander totally all around everywhere they could possibly explore. They have very active imaginations (little destroyers!) and they long to be doing things which are all OUTside of their pen. That is why they stand where they stand. They are observing and hopeful.
2) Bodhi and Remi’s pasture: Bodhi and Remi stand at the corner and look both ways. One way sees the house and the other way looks onto the mare pasture and barn. Clearly, they have a good idea of what is going on at all times.
So, I went into their pasture figuring there was nothing to learn.
But, as I stood in their spot, I felt the cool breeze that funnels from the barn to that spot. I also noted the pleasant shade and soft sounds coming from the massive oak tree right at that spot. And, much to my surprise, there is a mouse hole inside the oak that Bodhi
watches incessantly. I didn’t realize any of that.
I also noted that they never, ever make any messes in that area. It is perfectly clean. It almost feels like their sacred area… kinda like my chair. I mean it isn’t as if they don’t use their entire pasture. They do. But I never see them down at the other end staring at the cows or the pond or the geese. Sure, they roam around and graze, but they mostly appear in the upper corner. And, truth to tell, these two are people horses. They like people. Both of them nicker every time there is any motion with the house doors. If they hear anyone getting ready to come out, they both will sound off. Remi with her sweet nicker and Bodhi with his sexy rumble.
3) The mare pasture (and Wrigley):
These mares are very logical. They stand at the barn breezeway because it is shady and breezy. Or, during winter, it is covered and dry. And, of course, they can see me right
away if I come to the barn. They know exactly when they will be fed or if I’m anywhere near the treat bag.
But, they don’t all stand there
Only Tess and her foal, (now 2 years old) Wrigley. They own that spot. Poll position, as they say. The others stand in different areas. Sam will stand at the side gate. So, I went there to take a photo. I’m not surprised to see that she is looking at the front door of the house. I usually come out that way. And, she can easily turn her head
and look directly at Bodhi in his prime spot. Bodhi is Sam’s boyfriend. They are in love. However, Remi would literally kick Sam into the next county if she tried to steal him away. So, they have clandestine visits and stare at each other from their spots.
Gwen and VB have no spots. I can honestly say that. I never know exactly where they will be, but I know the general area. You see, both of these mares are great opportunists. They roam between areas to see where I will actually end up and perhaps, just maybe, they will be at the right spot at the right time. These are smart girls. They know that if they are alone near a gate at the right time, I may let them out to work or to play. So, they roam. I love watching their minds click into action.
4) Finn and BG’s pasture: These guys are a bit different.
Yes, they stand in their regular feeding positions at feeding time (Finn by the gate because he should rightfully be fed first since he is bigger and older) and she stands up a few feet in the shade between two trees.
But, on the off
times, they stand in peculiar spots. Finn will stand in the direct sun, over the waterer, and stare out into the mare pasture. So, I went there. I stood right there (he was a bit upset). To my surprise, this is a phenomenal view point. It looks at and through the barn breezeway (good), it looks out over the entire mare field, it looks up the hill into the upper part of the ranch and the corner butts up into the lower field where BG often stands. He can see the most of any horse.
And, when I stood there, I actually felt the coolness from two water troughs directly below. Hmmmm. He is smarter than I give him credit. After all, he is the oldest male and tries to make everyone obey him. He is lording over his farm. And, I had totally forgotten that before Aladdin was sick, this was his pasture and he stood in exactly the same place. Very interesting. This is the supreme gelding spot. The Grand Puh Bah of the ranch stands here, if he happens to be in that pasture…
BG stands in a very odd place. That is why I saved her for last. She stands in the upper middle of her smaller pasture and looks down into their larger pasture. She faces out towards the neighbor. Her butt is to the arena and she can see no other horses. Here is a photo of me standing on her spot. You can see that she is looking at me as if to say, “Hey, get outta my spot!”
I have no idea why she stands here. It isn’t shady. It isn’t quiet. It doesn’t look at anything that I can see. It doesn’t smell particularly better and there is no cool breeze. I have no idea why she stands there.
And then I thought about it. I thought about what she would think about my big, green lounge chair with mismatched pillows and the funky comforter. My area doesn’t look outside and it doesn’t face the TV. It doesn’t do anything but bring me comfort for some unknown reason.
And there you have it. It doesn’t matter where they stand because the bottom line is it just feels “right” for whatever reason. Me in my chair and them in their spots.
If it feels right, stand there. Simple.
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