My girlfriend's horse looks almost identical to the horse in this picture. He is sleek, listed as a dark bay but really he looks black most of the time, he moves beautifully. In other words - He's Purdy.... He can be a cranky little shit at times too and despite having an impressive bloodline he is more or less a rescue (I say this due to the way he came about being her horse). Some of his history is a bit sketchy and we can't piece it together. His prior owner only had him for about 8 months and we talk about how perhaps because of his attitude he may have been passed around a bit. As a result of all this, he is a little hard to trust. And he is not prone to give trust easily either. He looks at just about everything suspiciously and there are people he likes and people that he just.does.not. He looks at working with a grudge on his mind at best. When his ears are forward, you count that as a good day.
Being so different than my own horse - lazy yet laid back, unregistered throw-away, comic relief of the barn, never (cross fingers) sour although sometimes just plain humorously rotten - it takes me a bit to adjust myself when I am around him, which I started doing about six months before we actually moved and moreso once is became firm that he would eventually live with Takoda and I.
It is odd how we center ourselves via our own horse. Having had Takoda for two years now, I was thinking the other day about our own rough start, realizing he knew very little of anything other than following the line of horses ahead of him, his issues with touching his feet, his own pushy nature, etc... On Sunday I was braiding his tail, having just washed some of the winter crud out of it and he half leisurely, half "omg are you done messing around back there" lifted a hind foot and just barely stomped it. Just ever so barely... Such a small movement that most people would not have even noticed. I lifted my eyebrows like any mom and said - excuse me WTF did you just do? And he dropped his head in embarrassment. He was bored, see? And tired of me messing with his tail and he just wanted to go back in his stall and eat hay. So, he half-heartedly found a way to say - moooooommmmmmm hurry up. He wouldn't have kicked - he knew it and I knew it, so I was extremely comfortable reprimanding him via voice and not moving from what I was doing.
It isn't that we are less careful with our own horse. Well, sometimes we are and we probably shouldn't be. But, normally it just means that we get to know them so well that we have a connection, a feel, an understanding of their quirks and oddities.
Now that I have been caring for my friend's horse daily for two full months I am getting to where I understand some of his as well. I can read him better than when we were all boarding. Part of it is a matter of the simple acts of food, water, bringing in from the field, sending out to the field. The other part is actively looking at the differences (and similarities) in how these two communicate. One thing that is odd to me, yet makes sense in the horse world, is that Takoda is actually the Alpha. He "herds" the other horse to where he wants them to be in the field. He dictates where they will stand in the run-in. I am assuming this is part of why Angus is so hell bent on dominating people at times. I don't know what the pecking order was in his prior herd but at their boarding barn they were both somewhere in the middle. However, Takoda was more of a loner and Angust was more....well, he was willing to be the little kid that follows the bully around and says - yeah and take that - to the other horses.
LOL. It makes me think that maybe we just need a damn mare to put them both in their places.
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart