When I see my horse’s face over the stall door, it always makes me smile.
I know that “pretty is as pretty does,” and that temperament, soundness, and suitability are the highest priorities – but honestly, a face that you enjoy seeing over the stall door is awfully important. Cuteness counts, it just does.
On Valentine’s Day it seems apt to talk a little about our love for our horses. About how our hearts stir at that low greeting nicker, the one that says, “hey, where you been?”. It makes me feel so appreciated, even though I know they’re really looking for food. I speak right back, with all sorts of nicknames. “Good morning, Ellie Jelly Belly! How are you, Finny-Finn-Finn?”
Beloved animals have many nicknames, I think. The more you know them, the more little pet names they get. Finn came to me with the nickname, “Little Stinkbutt,” which I found rather ominous. Apparently he earned it when he used to kick his trainer’s feet out of the stirrups when he was learning the flying changes. Fortunately, he is only very rarely a true Stinkbutt. Most of the time he is very, very good, and only once in awhile do his little pointy pony ears look like devil horns.
Ellie came to me at three years old, without having earned any nicknames. She picked some up at the Ranch pretty quickly: Baby, Jelly Belly (she’s an easy keeper), Blondie, etc. For some strange reason, I also call her Puppy sometimes. I don’t know why, but it feels right. She is a Golden Retriever in horse form, so maybe that’s why.
Whatever I call them, my horses mean the world to me. As my trainer wisely said, “They are worth our tears.” Anyone who has been around horses knows there will be tears and heartbreak along the way. How can an animal so strong also be so fragile?
A wise friend said recently, “they break our hearts…and they heal them.” Yep. Been there, done that.
My heart has been broken over horses more times than I want to recall, but yes, they ARE healing somehow and so I want them always in my life. As the saying goes, “there’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a (wo)man.”
On this Valentine’s Day and every day, I wish you Horse Hugs, Pony Kisses and Heart Wholeness. And horses in your life both now and forever!