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Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I can sit and watch horses tirelessly. Aside from their obvious beauty and stunning fluidity of movements.... they capture my attention in other ways. If I were to zero in on one particular detail of interest, it would be how amazing and sensitive horses' lips, tongues, and whiskers are.

I marvel watching the horses pick through their hay or grass, carefully selecting all their favorite pieces first. I'm amazed watching them pick up remnant pieces after they've polished off the alfalfa. At first glance, I wouldn't see anything, but in for a closer look I can see they're picking up the smallest of digestible materials. If it were me, I'd have a mouth and face full of dirt, probably missing any piece I was after in the first place. Horses can manipulate the tiniest of pieces finely with their lips as effectively in their world, as we do with our hands and fingers in ours.

While weeding in the garden, I pulled out some big chunks of grass, some with roots still attached and tossed them over the gate for the 3 pasture clowns to have fun with, much like my children with a pile of dessert between them. All three horses attacked the pile by pecking order, establishing their spots, and after the dust settled, ate peacefully the sweet greens. Once they picked up a clump with roots attached, their different personalities kicked in, but each effective in their own way.

They'd work on them beginning from the seed tops, working the rootball upward towards their mouth as they contentedly chewed. Recognizing this, the grass was nippled down to the roots, and with a few nods of a head, the remnants tumbled to the ground. Another, once the grass was down to the offending roots, rubbed the root end on the gate or ground until the roots gave way. The last just tenderly with great care and sensitivity and with the percision of garden shears nipped the grass around the rootball clean off, no fanfare. The youngest of the three, if rubbing it along the fence or bobbing her head didn't work, would simply step on it, ripping the rootball away from the grass.None of them looked dismayed or perplexed by the task of derooting their morsels. They went right back in for more to repeat what worked best for them, whether it's rubbing the roots on the ground, the wall, or nearby fence, or stepping on it, or my favorite, happily and gingerly nibbling the grasses down to the roots and with the aid of the tongue, spitting the rest out.

Horses are able to preform delicate tasks with their big soft mouths. They have such sensivity that I can't help but watch and marvel. But then I have to laugh when I'm working them in the corral, and notice how their sensitivity quickly vanishes, such as when asked to move off of leg pressure or yeild to the bit. Amazing and entertaining animals they are!

Simple things.


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