06 September 2011

Princess No More

Bellaria is still as beautiful as a Princess, but she has conquered her "pea" mentality. For days, she complained about all the lumps in her world, but now she's settling in and becoming a real horse.

 Lump #1 : There are bugs. Yep, day and night, there are bugs. They land, they bite and they itch. Good for me, not so happy camper for her. Of course, she is fly sprayed and it works, but they still manage to bite. The bites itch; she comes to me to complain and to be scratched. That's the good part. The bugs cause me to be important to Bell. And above all else, I want her to want me. (Song lyrics? Cheap Trick, I think.)

Lump #2: She is not alone. She must share her space, as there are other horses milling about. At first this really bothered Bell. I don't believe she was used to other horses in close proximity to her high and mightiness. Like most princesses, she thought looking down her nose at other horses gave her higher value. My herd explained it to her. They said when she threw up her head and looked down her nose, she actually looked quite silly, as she had a tendency to cross her eyes. Not regal at all! When she persisted, they politely and then not so politely told her to get real. Bell didn't know what to do with horses who told her how to act.

She's got things worked out now, though. Some days, she even dishes out her own stuff and without trying too hard, Bell has lumped herself right smack dab into the middle of the herd. That's good for her and especially good for her owner. Middle of the herd horses are the easiest to get along with and the easiest to teach.

Lump #3: There's work to be done everyday, rain or shine, in the wind and stifling stillness. Some of it isn't to Bell's liking, but that's the whole reason she's here. Refusing just leads to more work. Bell is discovering that if she buckles down and gets to it, she is rewarded with rest periods, rubbing, little mini naps and some hand grazing. I am confident there will come a time when Bell will really enjoy this part of her day.

Lump #4: The sun is hot! Hot sun + work = sweat. Sweat + work well done = rinsing. Not what she's used to; sweating, I mean. But in my world horses sweat, men perspire and women just get damp. My job is to think, her job is to provide the labor - together we'll make a fantastic pair. And at the end of the session, she has learned that she'll get rinsed to perfection and cooled off in the shade. It's all starting to make sense.

Lump #5: Dirt. What's it good for? Bellaria is learning how to get dirty. She actually has sand and grass on her when I groom her each day. She's taking naps in the sand pit, then rolling before rising. Grind it in, I say! Learning to get dirty is a sure sign that this mare is on her way to becoming mentally, emotionally and physically healthy.

Lump #6: Stay away from the teeth and hooves of those above you in the herd. Apparently, this one was difficult to learn. Bell received lots of little nicks and bite marks early on, sure signs that she did not understand the herd mentality. Which is - "get out of my way" - "barging through" - "coming at ya", etc. The good thing was, it enabled me to play the oh, poor baby roll and clean up all her little dings and scratches. I became the good guy who soothed and comforted. Oh yeah, baby!

As I watch the princess diminish and the working girl emerge, I am delighted with what I see.

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