Moose The Horse.
Entry date: January 27, 2020
I have worked with a lot of great horses in my life, each of which I am so thankful for. Individually, they have impacted me in some way: learning how to communicate with a unique animal to learn and express what I want them to do in balance with predicting, reading, and listening to their responses.
Young horses are the most fun for me, partially because of their curiosity and unpredictability. I lived in Colorado for a while as a wrangler, and we had a very large herd with a packed daily schedule, which made horse placement a constant careful dance. Some of our oh so “special” horses were wrangler reserved, and close to the top of that list was a big young draft mutt, bay mare with the largest head you’ll ever see on a horse.
She wasn’t the best horse in any way, but she’s my favorite horse. What she lacked in general intelligence, she made up for in attentiveness and loyalty. An unlikely friend of mine who brought a lot of patience and grace to my perspective. My sweet Moose, who, despite initial scepticism from my coworkers would come right up from the pasture or to the barn at the high pitched yell of her name by me. She hated being a guide horse, and despite constant exposure work, wouldn’t get over spooking at her own shadow or the wind. She tried my patience nearly every day, as I would be closely monitoring a string of 8-10 guests on their first horseback experience hiking miles through the rocky mountains, my mare cow would be perfect one day and a complete trainwreck the next. But, we ventured on and she learned to trust me, I learned how important bonding was to this animal. The last month was hectic as our ranch ended up shutting down, so as we slowly kept the smaller herd fed and tended to, our afternoons consisted of training and naps on the grass, me laying right underneath her as she nibbled the grass around the perimeter of my body.
From a wildcard, to leaving her on her own in the big meadow as coworkers galloped all around, I saw the trust and safety of a verrrrry nervous 1300 lb animal at its fullest. She replied to my patience and forgiveness of her antics with a loyal bond and turned her fear into increased obedience to my asks, knowing I was on her side. Never perfect, don’t get me wrong. But a big piece of my heart nonetheless. I keep the leather from her reins she broke bein stupid tied to my keys. Hope someone feeds you lots of cheerios in the spring and understands why you’re worth it. Love my Meesh Moo always.