After a rain, when the grass is wet, Cru has a favorite pastime. He rolls in the grass and then lolls in the sand. This toilette is precisely performed. He rolls over on his left side first, drenching every hair, including those in his ears, his eyelids and in the nooks and crannies of his face. Then he stands and repeats the process on his right. Just prior to rising the second time, Cru rubs his belly along the blades. That part of him must be wet, too.
From my human caretaker standpoint, this is a nasty habit, but somehow, he doesn't agree. He strives to get dirty. More dirty is better than less dirty. Cru lives for this private little ritual. Nothing satisfies him more and usually there's no stopping him…
I was mowing and because the horses are used to the loud, grass-spitting monster, I can get fairly close. This proximity allows me to see some of the darnedest things. Unfortunately, mowers and cameras don’t mix, but I wish I had a camera around my neck for what happened next!
The herd was scattered about, all were enjoying their little piece of ground when Cru began his ceremony. Cru soaked his left and then stood up and soaked his right. He purposefully walked to the sand pit for the final hurrah. He was single minded and didn't notice Bub watching.
Bub had that sneaky stare going. The one where he barely lifts his head from grazing. The one where he pretends to be eating, but actually he is calculating. His head is turned, eyes glued on Cru, ears perked and twitching. He points one front foot in Cru's direction and leans over it. I can see something is about to happen.
I stop the mower.
Cru digs around, getting the sand kicked up nice and soft. He turns his back to the pasture and kneels. He's headed down on his left side. Bub sneaks an angle that will keep him out of sight. He covers the ground in silent purposeful strides. His head is low, bouncing along the grass. His eyes are bright with anticipation. Bub arrives to the pit just as Cru drops his hindquarters in the sand. His haunches exposed.
Teeth and butt collided with a loud pop as Bub snaked his head on bent knees to reach into the pit. Delighting in his ambush, he kicked his heels at a shocked Cru and looked back over his shoulder as he raced away. Bub stopped at the farthest corner of the field. He turned. He watched. He waited.
Lifting his frame off the ground, Cru let out one huge buck. Then he laid back down to finish his dirty job. He lazed about in that pit until he was completely satisfied before springing skywards. He blasted off an explosion of sand, twisting into a pretzel, mane and tail flying. He practiced a few hefty kicks at some imaginary foe (I had a good idea who it was) and then swung his head wide to spot the menace. Locking sights on the pale dappled youngster at the far end of the field, Cru advanced in a determined gallop.
Bub had no where to go. Sensing he had foolishly painted himself into a corner, he wildly searched for cover. He jabbed left. Cru cut him off. He faked right, Cru cut him off again. Resigned, he stood his ground and Cru charged down upon him.
I watched as Cru opened his mouth and pinned his ears. Poor Bub was quaking in his hooves. Pinned in the corner, he braced his legs, preparing for the barrage.
The pummeling was inevitable.
Just one moment more, I was prepared for bones crunching. Cru whipped his head off to the right and split the air in a remarkable leaping buck, twisting his hindquarters and sending his hooves high above Bub's head. In a feat of athleticism, Cru landed close to Bub's flank and bit him solidly on his butt. I heard a second loud pop that sent Bub bolting forward.
I watched with amusement as the youngest and the oldest raced around the pasture, fake biting and bucking and kicking at one another. They invited everyone to join them and the entire herd romped until they tired.
I sure wish I had my camera.