I Got In Trouble . . .

Muchu and Chuck Dixon

I know various people have varying opinions on this but my wife’s first mare was an AngloArab. She was a spectacular looker and had all that Arab fire and presence…and intelligence…..but she was pretty close to a one person horse. She had been taken by the SPCA for abuse from her first owner–so you know how bad that had to be–and the people who ended up with her where my wife rode took her in to save her from the slaughter house…figured they would have to leave her set in the pasture for a couple of years before even being able to see if there was anything they could do with her. Well along comes my wife—duh—love at first sight(this was before she and I were married). She sat and fed this horse carrots for months..taught her to come up from the pasture for her..all that kind of stuff—and ended up buying her. The people at the stable were honorable–tried to talk her out of it–and ultimately said that if it didn’t work they would take her back and give her her money back… My wife and that mare were inseparable until the day that horse passed. It was one of the few horses my instructor never could ride–simply because a man had beaten the horse so bad with a 2×4—I was the only man that ever rode that horse–and only because my wife wanted it and that mare knew it—she was a beauty queen—a diva—sweet as the day is long…and had a mind of her own—lot like my wife actually…lol. I mention this only because this mare had a personality quirk that I haven’t really encountered in other mares but have read alot about as being possible. If my wife handled other horses without riding or handling Brandy first,,,,she would turn—plant her butt against the door making it hard to get in—fold her ears back but not in a challenging way–more like stubborn ain’t working for you get lost way—and she wouldn’t either…it would take a couple of days for her to cool her heels. It was just that mare’s way….and my wife understood it—didn’t take any crap from her—but at the same time respected her bond—she came from a long way down to trust people again and it was my wife that pulled her out.

Oh—just a personal PS—-since Sush has gotten here, my wife has been out to the stable about 4 times—this may not seem like much but she has spent whole months not getting out that much. It taxes her and she pays for it with sleeping and being so weak and wobbly when she comes back–most of the time she can barely walk—for the whole day….but if you look at the picture—the smile she has—that ain’t fake. She won’t even go to church anymore because she is afraid of having a siezure in public…we missed our nephews wedding for the same reason…and in fact she was right—she has had multiple seizures this weekend…but she is still getting up and going out with us to see Sush. This girl has been a blessing to all of us—is why I soooooo wanted to get a picture with her in it too…..she is our not so silent partner—lol lol. Later………..

Well yesterday…I had a similar experience—hadn’t seen it since that mare of my wife’s passed—but pretty sure it was the same kind of thing. I wasn’t going to work Sush so went out and was going to brush and hand graze her—just sort of hang out. Got there in the afternoon and on Sunday all the lady’s help at the stable is off—-so my son and I were on a lazy day anyway….so just being neighborly we helped bring in horses and throw hay–fill buckets etc, I went out to see her first–like always—and she ambled up for her head scratch and neck rub—all the usual stuff…but then because we were bringing horse in—I ended up bringing in the lead gelding and another mare in the pasture first ahead of her….then her—-then went back for another mare. well after that we threw hay up and down the isle and did waters….usual stuff….and I stopped and patted her and gave her a cube of sugar…she seemed fine. We fed up—-I didn’t throw her feed like I usually do,,,and it started—-I would walk up and down the isle and her ears would pin right back…not even getting near the stall but just walking by….my son could walk by—my wife could walk up to the stall and talk to her with no more than normal don’t bug me I’m eating…but she was HACKED at me. After she ate I figured maybe she just had thought I was going to work her and she didn’t want to—so was going to hand graze her just to settle her down…..nope—she turned her butt to the door ever time I opened it….didn’t really pay to much attn if my son opened it. I finally got her to turn around with a bit of feed in a can and she let me take hold of her halter–no fight or anything—just that real cranky look in her eye…actually about the same look my wife gets when I make a joke..but anyway…she just wanted no part of me—took her out and handgrazed her—no—just tearing at the grass…didn’t want to relax…finally I just put her away….after 31 yrs of marriage I know enuf to just shut up…and I did. My wife thought it was the funniest thing, because she had seen it before with her mare…she told me she was hacked at not being treated like the princess like we have been every other time….and what did I expect from a horse that came from a racing stable where they are simply running machines to a place where she is a diva–she runs up from the back of the pasture to see us every day and has since day 2—that has been so mellow and intelligent and easy…well after she laid it out like that I was…..duh…….guess I got myself in trouble. My wife also thought it was funny my comment about adding another female in my life to get in trouble with…lol. Anyway—went out this morning and I swear—she was right back like normal—maybe just a tad cool at first but when I apologized and brushed and rubbed her down she condescended to come out and work—lol. she was good—same sweet girl—soft eyes–trying her best—everything just back to normal.

Like I say—I know people have differing views on if this even happens…and certainly on the desirability of it and how to handle it…..but ….for me is in keeping with everything she is and has been so far. She wanted an owner…and person to bond and match up with—she and I do—and she was crankyyyyyyyyyy when I “dumped her” yesterday. Well, can’t say I am the happiest about the attitude…..but then again–not always that keen when my wife cranks one up either, but she’s been a keeper for 31 yrs. The one thing you have to appreciate is that the horse may have been soured on her racing because she didn’t get what she needed…but she is open and responsive to retraining when she does—she doesn’t hold grudges and hasn’t soured on work—she just wants someone to work for…..kind of a touching sentiment from a racehorse. It really points out that a racehorse is a raceHORSE…not a RACEhorse….and what you guys are doing is really worthwhile salvaging of some wonderful personalities…not “just” saving a generic horse with a good pedigree or conformation from a meat-market. She really isn’t any different than my Trakehner or my Appy or my wife’s mare—or any of dozens of horses I have handled and trained thru the years. It’s a real treat and a delight to be back in it with such a class act. Talk to you later, Chuck