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Here’s a pasture equation for you: Snow + Hungry + Bored = Curious Horses.
When we returned to Colorado after nearly two weeks in sunny Mexico, (more about that coming soon) we found snowy pastures and bored horses.
Horses graze. It’s what they do all day long.
It makes them happy.
A nibble here, a nibble there and before you know it, an entire day has passed. So obviously when there is nothing to nibble on, a horse gets bored.
And hungry. Those twice daily hay deliveries don’t last long. What’s a horse to do with the other eleven hours of the day?
Well they grow curious, vigilant really, and always on the lookout for the F-word.
That would be food!
I needed to give you this backstory to set the stage for the photos to come.
You see, we had to drive into the pasture to get to the Golden Girls, who spent our vacation in their own special “hotel.” They had room service and no one bothered them. They could munch hay as long as they wanted with no fear of a bigger, stronger horse muscling in. We took them grain before turning them into the bigger pasture.
Then we waited. The Golden Girls are dawdlers. At least the one named Pepper!
And while we waited we had visitors.
Somebody was certain there was something to eat in the back of the pickup. It is the same kind of vehicle that delivers hay. Right??
Annie thought it looked pretty warm inside the cab. She wasn’t above begging!
We have new neighbors moving in next door. When I first heard the noise in the driveway, I peeked out the window. I didn’t walk outside and say hello. I pried the mini-blinds apart and took a look.
Snooped some might say.
Just so you know, I’m not completely socially inept. I did eventually greet them, exchange names and welcome this young family – mom, dad and two young kids – to the neighborhood.
In a moment that can only be described as pasture imitating life, a day or so later I observed similar behavior when I was out feeding Miss P. We were at the new gate, just getting to know the horses that live in the surrounding paddocks.
There were two cuties in the paddock that borders the pasture that I hadn’t seen before. They were causing quite a stir. On one side, pasture horses were checking them out with great care. Ears were pricked with rapt attention, eyes focused on the strangers.
And on the other side, the horses in the adjoining paddock were doing the same. They were getting a good look at the newbies.
As for the two young horses that’d just moved in, they seemed a little anxious. They kept checking the feed bins, whinnying and sticking close to each other.
Have you ever walked into a meeting or an exercise class a little late and had all eyes turn to you? I think that’s how the newbies felt.
Off their game. And of course, it wasn’t helping much to have horses staring at you.
I don’t know the story on these two. And I haven’t had time to make one up! So for now, they are the newbies.
Conventional wisdom, folklore, and many cat lovers tell us that cats are curious by nature.
The saying, “curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back,” seems to permanently live in the hard drive of my mind, along with, oh a million or so other useless quotes, bits of information and stuff.
But I think horses have cats beat when it comes to curiosity.
One of the subtle gifts of spending time every day with my horses and the others that live at this particular boarding facility is getting to know them.
Really getting to know them.
I’ve traveled deep into this small world and become quite familiar with many of the inhabitants.
One minute they were hanging out with each other, talking, telling jokes, giving stock tips and whatever else adult horses do when they’re together.
The next minute, almost in unison they perked up their ears and gave rapt attention to something happening on the road beside them.
They totally stopped what they were doing and stood facing this new thing.
I think they may have even been holding their breath.
They became statues.
It’s how horses survived in the wild.
The danger wasn’t quite so real here in civilization, but their programming hasn’t caught up.
These horses were alert. Waiting to see if they needed to run like the wind.
What danger had captured their attention?
They were being quiet.
Minding their own business and having fun.
It was a beautiful spring day – perfect for a drive if you’re into that sort of thing.
The horses in the paddock, however, were not so sure.
They followed the cart’s progress with ears perked and movement as choreographed as the Dallas Cheerleaders.
When you’re a prey animal, I guess you can’t take any chances.
And when you’re bored, any entertainment fills the bill.
So what say you?
Who’s more curious – horses or cats? Or do you have another animal to add to the mix?