A few weeks ago I introduced you to Pepper’s new boyfriend – a black and white Paint.

You can read about it here if you want a refresher.

When we saw that he had cut her out from the rest of the Herd of Oldsters, we were miffed.

Here we go again, we thought. The issue of Pepper and her boyfriends was beginning to be a predictable occurrence.

Who knew our thirty-year old mare was such a little hottie?

Eventually we learned the Paint’s name is Atticus. That went a long way toward softening my husband’s opinion of him, because To Kill a Mockingbird is one of his all time favorite movies.

Atticus the Paint sharing a name with Atticus Finch was a good omen!

And Atticus, or Atty as he is called, behaved well. He showed proper respect for the older geldings. As near as we could tell, there wasn’t any kicking, or biting going on.

It turns out Atty was looking for a friend more than a girlfriend.

He’d been moved to our pasture with several other horses from a different boarding facility. They’ve made up their own mini-herd within the larger herd in the pasture. But Atty didn’t go with them. He still completely ignores them.

Right away he zeroed in on the Herd of Oldsters and has remained with them.

He’s now as much an Oldster as the rest of the herd, even though at somewhere around nineteen he’s the youngster of the group.

Maybe there were bad feelings in his old herd.

Maybe he was eager to light out on his own.

Maybe he figured the Oldsters were a safe and friendly bunch, which they are! Breaking into a new herd is quite stressful. We’ve noticed that many newbies make their first stop with the Oldsters. It’s a good way to ease into the politics of the pasture.

My point is this: I judged Atty too quickly.

He’s a nice horse, curious and friendly. He quickly caught on to the snack routine. He’s a handsome boy, and he’s slowly finding a place in my heart.

But most important, Atticus has reminded me to temper my judgment, to avoid jumping to conclusions, to give horses and people the benefit of the doubt.

There is almost always more to a story, when we’re patient enough to let it unfold.

Have you had an experience where your first impression was off the mark? I’d love to hear about it. Just scroll down to the comment section and tell us.