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Of Gentle old horses, and curious young childern...

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  • Of Gentle old horses, and curious young childern...

    It never fails to amaze me how the old saint's always know how to just treat the young and upand coming wee horseman of the future.

    Alex the old guy (will be 25 this spring) is also known as (Gabi's Horse) Gabi wanted to learn how to pick hooves tonight... so I haltered Alex and brought him into the barn. Mr. Catersun showed her how to run her hand down the back of the horses leg and he ever so gently raised his foot and held it up for her. Mr. C showed her how to move the dirt out of his feet.... All four feet later and the next foot was daintly waiting for the little girl to ask for it and he would hold it up for her. Never moved an inch the whole time other than to look over Mr. Catersun's shoulder to check on his little human. It was really sweet.

    He is a good old man.... just wish I could wash him in hot water and shrink him down to her size.... *sigh* Oh well.
    If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.

  • #2
    Aw Cater what a good boy Alex is. It is funny, I think sometimes they know to be especially careful with the wee kids.

    Little FG adored Dan The Man (she still does) and he was one of the few horses I felt comfortable allowing her to get close to. He was gigantic, and I'd hold her up so she could brush him. He never so much as moved a muscle when she was around.

    She's been bugging me to go to the barn, and truthfully I've only had her out once since Mr. Win's arrival. The other day she asked me to buy her a helmet so she could ride Wiiiiiiindsor as she calls him.

    My hope is that Win will be sound enough for me to hack around for a few years, and then pass along to her. My first horse was a saintly gray gelding so it seems sort of fitting she should have one too....
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


    • #3
      They are too sweet that way. Our now-retired mare was about 17 when my little brother started riding seriously, and he wanted to ride her. She is a really flighty TB with a heck of a bouncy trot so my mom and I were reluctant to let him at her, but we did. She was so great - took the tiniest little steps so he didn't get jostled too much and went very, very slowly. We were very proud of both of them. Since then a few other beginners have ridden her, all with the same result - she really "dumbs down" and takes care of them! When we bought that horse, I would never have predicted it, but shows you what I know.

      "You keep one leg on one side, the other leg on the other side, and your mind in the middle." -- Henry Taylor, "Riding Lesson"


      • #4
        That was one thing that always amazed me about my boy--nutty OTTB that he was, brat when I was on him if he didn't want to cooperate--but put a little kid on him and he was the world's most solid packer. I don't know if he even he would have been such a gentleman about teaching someone to pick hooves, though! Alex sounds like a classic trouper.
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        • #5
          What a good boy Alex is.

          I hope my "old man" is like that when my son starts riding him next year, as he wants to show him in 4-H. At 22 (23 in the spring) he will to this day still test me, it's like "our" thing and he's predictable. The last time he had a true beginner on him, he was an absolute saint and didn't put a foot wrong. This was an adult woman and she rode him twice in the same day w/ no problems and told her husband she wanted a horse just like him, to which my friend exclaimed, "you'll never find a horse just like him." Wasn't sure if that was a compliment or not, but I pretended it was.

          My son is becomming a pretty good little rider, but I'm hoping he behaves himself, as he's not the 44 1/2" pony. He's a 15.3hh, 1200lb quarter horse that's built like a brick $hit house. After our ride today, he's not slowed down any at all. He wanted to trot, trot, trot, which is odd for him.
          A Merrick N Dream Farm
          Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


          • #6
            I am so grateful to a little old lady and an old man who were extra wonderful to my DD (who has Aspergers) last year when she first started volunteering with TR.

            We waited until she was older because we wanted her to be able to understand all that goes into horsemanship, and because of her Autistic issues we needed to be sure it would be a safe, non-threatening experience.

            I swear to you on my life that those two oldies walked up to her in the field and whispered "It's ok, I'll never hurt you, you can trust me...I love you". I deal was sealed, and she was owned. In less than a years time she is now an advanced beginner heading to intermediate rider waiting impatiently for show season i the spring. She even gives TR lessons to the independent riders at the stable we volunteer with now.

            The oldies are just beyond golden...
            I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

            Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


            • #7
              Most animals cut the young some slack. Young people and animals have certain movements that cue this response (think that mouthing thing in young horses). But add to that, horses, at least some horses really seem to be more empathetic than other animals.

              Our niece came to visit Macrae when she was just steady enough on her feet to not fall down unexpectedly. We petted the horsie's nose, took her for a little lead-line walk and then she decided she wanted to lead him. Off we went with "L" at the end of the lead, me in the middle and Macrae at the other end. He dropped his head to the ground to be on her level (she was really just a little taller than his head) and to keep an eye on her movements. Quite literally, he would pick up a foot and hold it there until he was sure she was clear, then put that one down, lift another and rinse and repeat over and over. He stayed enough behind to not crowd, but the lifting and holding the foot was soooo cool.

              He was also famous for being a great lesson horses for the young ones in the family. If you were completely clueless, he would go along nicely as long as you want. When you got a little better and started thinking you were in charge, he'd start testing to see where you really were.

              Lastly, our Alex has been amazing with children. You may remember he was badly burned in a barn fire in 2004. Since then, on several occasions he's done some fire safety demos at town fairs and has attended Children's Burn Camp to work with kids who were profoundly burned as well. There is something magical about when he works with these kids. He's been known to put his head in the lap of a child in a wheelchair and let them hold him. He's up for many kids just coming up and hugging him around the head, neck and even shoulders. He'll give a nuzzle when needed, curl his head/neck around a child for a hug and he even knows which kids will respond to a good snort with "ewwww gross... do it again"

              He truely knows and responds differently as needed. At one of the safety fairs, he was feeling a little head bonk-y, but when the children from the group home came by he was soft and still, letting them pet him

              By the way Alex is back at work as a driving horse. We won't chance his fur-less topline to a saddle, but a padded harness saddle seems to work well and he really enjoys having his job back.


              • #8
                My paint mare was fabulous with little 'uns. The smallest was actually less than two when we first put her on Callie. That horse looked like she was walking on eggs and trying not to break the shells. We just swooned watching her. The little girl (a friend's daughter) came out every so often as she got older and actually could ride a bit to see "her horse" and Callie was always the same with her. She would trot when the girl got older, but would stop as soon as the girl got unbalanced. And this was a mare who really could be quite a b*(&^ at times and not what I would call snuggly . . . I think she missed her calling as a lead-line or beginner school horse. She really liked taking care of the beginners, but didn't like it so much when I got better and wanted to be in charge.


                • #9
                  Oh this just reminded me of a day long ago when I laughed so hard!!

                  My wonderful old man who is now gone was a gentleman all the way!!
                  I once hauled three little tykes up on his bare back and began to lead them around. They each were holding on to the others waist. Yep...they began to list ever so slowly to the side until as a unit, they all three plunked down on the ground...laying on their sides, still with their little arms clasped aorund the others waist.

                  I looked back and there they lay, partially underneath Deacon, who never made another movement until they had been removed....their eyes huge, not knowing whether to cry...until I burst out laughing ....Sure wished I had a camera.

                  He left me on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon at 30 years old. Just laid down and passed....a gentleman even at the end.
                  "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


                  • #10
                    I was privileged to have that wonderful kind of first horse for my son. My son was 9 when we bought 23 year old Nomad. I would joke with kids and tell them that Nomad meant that he was never mad, lol, but it was so true. This guy showed no temper ever to people. He was a great babysiter to beginners, used in pony camp for demonstrations because in this whole riding school he was the quietest for the kids to work around...unless I walked past. He would start testing a kid if they were improving, he could always tell. "So, you think you can ride, try this buck!" He was a real angel. So I bought some land and named it after him where he retired.


                    • #11
                      Travis is like that too. He just loves kids! I've put every one of my small relatives on him and he carries around like precious cargo every time, even though he's a piss ant with me! Adores DD. She started riding him at 13, and he's always taken perfect care of her.

                      Some of them just seem to know. You put a little one on their backs and their eyes will just get as soft as butter, and their ears will go to half mast. Its a beautiful sight.
                      Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                      Witherun Farm


                      • #12
                        My Tommy, the ex-eventer ( and fire breathing dragon after cross-country), once had his huge Hano head down to sniff my neice over the stall door. She was about 6 at the time. Before we knew it, she was hugging Tommy with all her might in a monkey hug (legs and arms wrapped tight around his head). We gasped and froze, and slowly, slowly, he raised his head about 3 feet off the ground, lifting her gently into the air. She hung on, eyes as big as dinner plates, until he gently deposited her back in the aisle, gentle as can be. We were speechless, but so thankful he was a gentleman! He could have tossed her like a sack of potatoes, but he didn't! He knew that kid needed a big ole horsey hug!
                        Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.


                        • #13
                          Ah, this brings a smile to my face, and happy memories.

                          I knew my gelding was a keeper and a gentle soul well before he was elderly. I had my 3 nieces visiting, so we took a trip to the barn to see the horse. I put him in the grooming stall, and the kids were all over him like ticks, brushing, etc. Well, it was a lot to try to keep track of, and out of the blue I hear the youngest niece (she was 3 at the time) say "Mommy, what are these?". I looked, and she was under the horse, between his back legs, poking at his chestnuts. . . Yikes!

                          Now, this is a horse that HATED having his chestnuts picked at, yet he stood like a statue, silently saying to me, "um, Mom, please remove the little human?"

                          So, we extracated my neice, and I told that horse he had a home for life, just for that.

                          Many years later, I was now the mommy, and my daughter who was 5 was doing lead line lessons on this 15.2 hand gentle horse. We used to put down some ground poles as obstacle courses, and at the end of the lesson, I would carry the poles back to the sides of the arena, with him in tow and my daughter in the saddle. One night she said "Mom, I can stand here with him in the middle while you put those away, so I said "sure" and picked up two poles. As I was walking towards the far wall, the two barn dogs started roughhousing in the aisle, and crashed into the doors to the arena.

                          I almost died, dropped the poles, spun around and expected that horse to have been running to the next county (which he would have done if it had be me on board), yet all he did was a slight flinch, didn't move a hoof. So I calmly walked back to them, gave that horse a big hug and told him once again that he had a home for life.
                          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                          • #14
                            I saw my chestnut TB mare drop her head so my little girls could take her halter off in the pasture once. She's never so nice for me!! My girls are horse savvy (for kids) but still, you wonder if they'll be ok. So I watched from a short distance and was amazed at how different she was for them. Very interesting.

                            And once they tried to pick out the elderly gelding's feet while he walked. He was 32. He would step and they'd catch his foot, then he'd stand and let them do it. Then they'd let it go and run around him for the next foot. I did tell them to leave the poor guy alone, but have to admit he didn't seem to really mind. Now, if it were ME doing this he would have stomped his feet and trotted off without a backwards glance.


                            • #15
                              One day when LMEqT was two, she "sneaked" off the porch to go see my horse. He's not old, but he is amazingly tolerant of children. He will let kids stick their hands up his nose, pull his head down, etc. etc. and will NOT let any adult do such a thing.

                              Here she is, after leaning down and touching noses with him. I was not fast enough to get that pic but I love the expression on her face here.. OMG! HE IS SO BIG!!!!
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                              "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                              • #16
                                My son and my mare's foal were almost the same age. My daughter 21 months older.
                                I was nursing my new baby and we were all into this nursing thing, even my daughter when I saw her under the mare reaching up to suckle. Dear mare just stood there.
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique