Grand Old Mare

All decked out for a parade

This month, as hectic as it has been, has had three bright spots.

A friend and her daughter were walking around the pasture. The old mare ambled up, sniffed us and stayed for pats. She was in such a calm mood that I sent daughter for a halter and lead rope. We boosted her onto the old mare’s back – then we walked around the pasture talking.

While we walked the old gelding fell into step. The young mare got a bit huffy, I chased her off until she lost the attitude. Eventually, she fell into step with us. The parade went up and down the pasture before we ended up in the round pen. The old gelding came in, I chased the young mare out.

We gave daughter a second lead rope, she ‘rode’ the old mare around and had a great time.

It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. They’ve been back, we put daughter in a saddle this time. The old mare was simply wonderful.

This is the same horse who, at three, was a notorious bucker. She came to me because nobody wanted her. She’s still tricky and has made me eat my share of dirt – but she loves kids, and always has. It always amuses me to see her be a perfect horse.

Today we tossed a young boy (maybe 8 years old) on her back and did pretty much the same thing. Amazing to see her play nanny, no saddle, only a halter and lead ropes. She puts her head down and steps carefully, walking gently so he can stay on. He wanted to make her run, I told him he’d have to take lessons first.

When it was over, he led her into the barn, she literally kept an eye on him. I remember the spirited young mare who threw everyone who rode her and give her a big hug.

The mare is 5 foot at the shoulder, weighs 1100 lbs, the kid weighs maybe 40 lbs and barely reaches her chest. The look of wonder on his face was priceless. I know how he feels, to have an animal so large and strong obey you makes you feel strong and powerful. 

He is fearless, so when he let the horses out, he walked along with them. My herd is well-mannered, his grandmother and my sister were worried about the horses hurting him. I knew they wouldn’t. 

The young mare hasn’t been ridden in a long time – but she’s seen her mother with the kids. She’s jealous of the attention. She let herself be caught the other day (they couldn’t tell her from her mother) so she could get brushed and petted. They say horses learn from example. I think I’ll use this to my advantage.