When I was a young girl I was obsessed with horses.
I devoured any literature related to them, Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka were my favourites along with a multitude of magazines marketed towards equine obsessed young ones. The one glaring factor was that like many others, I had no horse or pony except of the imaginary type (ah Storm I miss you still).
So I became one of those kids that haunt a stable yard until their presence forces the owner to feel pity for them and exorcise them of their misery by bestowing a token job.
And thus began my new life, of not having a horse of my own, but at least being horse adjacent. I loved everything about my time at those stables, even mucking out the stalls, no task was too big or too odorous for this devotee.
So I had ingratiated myself into stable life when I met my dream horse, he wasn’t the stuff of fantasies (Storm remains unrivalled) but he was a feisty black cob with a white star on his forehead (just like Black Beauty swoon!). I was completely besotted.
I tried my best to befriend him but he had other ideas, he started a campaign to besmirch my growing reputation as being “handy with horses” by taking sneaky nips at me anytime my back was turned to him. He got pretty adept at this, oh yes he was nippy at the whole nipping business. Way too fast for me and I remember feeing betrayed and disappointed at yet another chomp, why would my buddy try to bite me at every opportunity? I was heartbroken… my best friend was a big bully, just like school again but with horse flies.
Then one day I had reached breaking point, I was busy sweeping the yard in front of his stall when I felt that familiar impression of horsey choppers on my shoulder, I whipped around broom in hand and yelled into the face of my frenemy.
It was like time stood still, I had shocked myself and I had definitely shocked him. I have never seen a horse with such a look of stunned surprise on his face. He had a look of complete gobsmackdom. His gast was utterly flabbered.
Since that day we had a new understanding, he would chance a sneaky nip at me only on special occasions while I copped on not to have my back turned to him so often.
We went on to become very good friends and I have many happy memories of summer evenings sitting on the manger of his stall swinging my legs while he snoozed, girl and horse happy in each others company.
Still his shocked face on that fateful day is one of my abiding funniest horse related memories, I’ve tried to depict it below, hope you enjoy!
And remember, if you turn your back to a horse you may get nipped but it could also be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Peace and love.