Horsing Around

LeAnn posted this blog on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I’ve been around horses for a lot of years — about 40 years, I guess. But I’ve never had anything like this happen before.

The other night, I decided to brush my little black mare, Isabelle, so I could put some fly spray on her and some lotion fly wipe on her face. When it is hot and humid in the summer, the flies really bother the horses, and when it gets to a certain point in the summer, the face flies are quite bad.

Isabelle does not have as much trouble as Kajun with the face flies bothering her eyes. Sometimes the face flies bother Kajun to the point that his eyes will swell up. Still, I don’t like the idea of flies sitting on their faces, so I treat both of them with the lotion fly wipe.

I finished brushing Isabelle and squirted some of the lotion onto a baby wipe so I could apply it around Isabelle’s ears and her eyes.  It’s called RepelX, and it works very well. You only have to apply it a couple of times  a week, and it smells good, too.

I stood next to Isabelle’s shoulder and gently pulled on her chin to get her to turn her face toward me. The last thing I wanted to do was get fly wipe in her eyes, so it was important for her to turn in my direction.

Now, usually when I ask Isabelle to turn her head, she does. Quite often I don’t even put a halter and lead rope on her when I brush her because this is the horse who will come tearing across the pasture at top speed when she sees me with a horse brush in my hand. Isabelle loves attention and would not dream of moving away when I am brushing her and combing out her tail.

But now here I was, trying to get Isabelle to turn her head toward me, and she would not move. She just stared straight ahead and paid no attention. She wasn’t looking at anything or watching anything, it seemed to me. She just refused to turn her head.

As I tried to figure out why Isabelle would not turn her head, it dawned on me that she seemed to be standing in a strange position. I was so close to her that I could not see my feet, but I could see the top of her shoulder, and something was amiss with the way she stood.

I pulled back a bit and looked down — and could not believe my eyes.

Isabelle was standing right square on my foot. Her right foot was exactly on top of my left foot. And I was wearing tennis shoes.

But the really funny thing was —  I could not feel anything at all.

With almost a thousand pounds of horse on my foot, I ought to feel something. But I could not feel a thing.

I pulled my foot back. . .

. . .  and then Isabelle settled her weight so that she was standing square on all four feet.

“Isabelle!” I said. “You were standing on my foot! But you didn’t put your weight down!”

Over the years, I have, from time to time, had horses step on my feet. It’s not fun. While you are pushing on their shoulder to get their weight off your foot, they are leaning into the push. Then they are picking up all of the other three feet first before they get to right one that is standing on yours. In the meantime, your toes are in excruciating pain, and you are quite sure that all of the skin has been scraped off the top of your toes.

But not Isabelle. When she took a step forward, she must have felt my foot underneath hers and then decided not to put her weight down.

“Isabelle!” I said. “You made sure you didn’t step on my foot!”

I finished wiping fly lotion on her ears and around her eyes and set my baby wipe outside the fence so she wouldn’t get hold of it. Then I put my arms around Isabelle’s neck and gave her a hug.

“You’re such a good girl. I can’t believe you didn’t step on my foot!” I said.

Isabelle stood there quietly while I hugged her. When I was finished with my hug, she looked at me for a moment, then she took one sidestep toward me with her back foot.

I took a step backward, and then she moved another step toward me.

It did not take me long to figure out what she was doing. In a minute or so, Isabelle had turned around so that I was now facing her tail.

“What?” I said. “You want me to scratch your tail?”

I reached through the fence and got the brush that I use for Kajun and Isabelle’s mane and tail, along with a bottle of baby oil, and began to brush her tail. Isabelle loves to have her tail brushed and to have me scratch around the base of her tail and put baby oil on her tail to help keep it from being so itchy.

As I worked, Isabelle drew a deep breath and let out a gusty sigh.

I laughed. If Isabelle could talk, she would not have been able to say it any better. . .

“Ahhhhhhhhhh. Thank you. That’s just what I wanted. . .”

LeAnn R. Ralph

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