Saturday, February 14, 2009


People always seem to be impressed with horses. They weigh up to half a ton, but can be guided by a child. A horse could easily overcome you and yet will respond to a human's correctly placed finger. They move with such grace and speed and still allow us to channel that energy into our recreational pursuits.

And I don't know why, but people unfamiliar with horses always seem to be awed by the fact that horses CAN sleep while standing up.

I am emphasizing that they can sleep that way, since the fastest reaction to any danger would be from a standing position.
Only if a horse feels comfortable, protected, in a stable environment (pun intended) and safe, he will lay down to sleep.

But it is not an extremely smooth, lithe movement on their part, either laying down or getting back up. Which is probably the main reason they don't like to be caught in the act.

Which leads me to today's post.

I have known my horse since he was just over a year, and have owned him since he was 18 months old. I have spoiled him silly, but also make certain he knows who is boss (i.e. ME). And he will do what I ask when I ask it.

My most important training device is, at best, a novel one - I scratch his stomach.

Najale (my horse) simply LOVES to have his stomach scratched, and will do almost ANYthing I ask if he knows I'm gonna rub his belly. I discovered this by sheer accident, and have capitalized on it every since.

So when I find Najale laying down in the pasture, I need to approach him slowly and cautiously, murmuring with a softened tone so he knows it's me. But he will remain on the ground and let me walk right up to him.

Because I might, I just might, scratch his belly.

And for this great favor, for even the remotest possibility of at least a RUB somewhere, this 900+ lb. horse, 16.2 hands high, of majestic breeding and bearing, will get on his back like a puppy for me.

I try not to giggle too loud, just to keep a sliver of his dignity intact. But normally, when I get back to the house, I HOWL for several minutes with sheer delight at the sight of this powerful, beautiful animal wiggling in the dirt just for a rub on his belly.
So please, don't let him know.