“It’s a little known fact that we horses are great believers in New Year Resolutions. Or at least Reflections.
Let’s face it. We can realistically expect to celebrate far fewer New Years than you, our human counterparts.
So instead of going out partying or going to bed early pretending you don’t care, if you humans were to peek into the barn or the field shelter around midnight, you might find your horse and his or her companions mulling over the year past and thinking about what to make of the year ahead.
In smarter establishments than mine, elite athletes may be bragging about the cups they bagged in 2014 and the prizes they have in sight for upcoming seasons. Some may be yawning – having heard it all before – quietly hoping their sore backs and tendons hold up another year. Others may be apprehensive about a move away from all that’s familiar or how they’ll fare with a new owner.
At the other end of the scale some poor souls may be shivering for want of a good feed or blanket and worrying about how they’ll be able to help their humans through another year.
The vast, lucky majority of us will be glad of full tummies and comfortable billets. We are truly grateful to be better cared for than a good many members of the human race. And if that means we can’t get to gallop over prairies at will or run the gamut of equine emotions within a large herd, we do understand that all living beings have dreams, but have to learn to compromise with workaday realities.
Despite our darkest fears, we were, again, secretly disappointed not to be chased by mountain lions.
We were often told that we were the handsomest, cleverest, good-boys and girls. We occasionally had to suffer unnecessary swearing and blame for things of which we were completely innocent. Of course we would not intentionally mucky our water buckets or make unscheduled halts in front of malodorous swamps.
We who have good humans have been the recipients of an awful lot of human love; gooey, sticky sentiment and inappropriate hugs and kisses. But that’s a small price to pay if there are also carrots, occasional home-baked treats, well-kept pastures, sweet hay and cool, clear water.
We would love to reassure our humans that we can put up with some mistakes in their riding if what they want is explained as clearly as they can. Sometimes we wish they would listen when we’re trying to show them there’s a better or easier way.
And sometimes we just have to say, as emphatically as we are able, that we really can’t understand or physically achieve what they want, or that their riding ambitions are beyond our abilities.
We would also like to reassure them that we understand more about their troubles than they think. We’ve heard those thoughts rattling round in their brains when we could be having a relaxing hack or a productive schooling session. We know about the bitchy boss, the dreaded exams, the husband’s complaints or the kids’ taking Mum for granted. We try to be helpful and sympathetic, where we are able.
We’d like them to know that although they are weird-looking because they’re humans, each of us thinks their own good human is the best-looking, most outrageously attractive one they know, even if we would appreciate carrying a few less of their pounds just after Christmas.
When we think about the year ahead, we generally long for safety and security, kindness, good food and company, freedom from pain and anxiety for all our kind. And for our humans, freedom from the worries that kill kindness and sour their relationships with us – and each other.
Of course we can’t really give you bipeds an inkling of our hopes and worries. We know you think we exist in the present moment …… but we certainly have more instinct about the future, even if we have less power over steering our own courses than you do.
What I do know is – we all wish for a
HAPPY NEW YEAR
What’s your horse’s message? (and can I come back in now, please?)”