I have had pets all my life. Coming from a family of 8 children, there were always dogs and cats around and occasionally hamsters, birds and fish.
Most of us are aware that dogs and cats have individual personalities. Some are friendly and cuddly, others are aloof and independent. They display the full range of emotions – sadness, happiness, grouchiness and even jealousy. But, I never thought of horses as having the same personality traits and emotions. Being a city girl, I’d never really thought about it. In the western movies and TV shows, they were just livestock that you trained and rode, except, of course, for Mr. Ed and Francis the Talking Mule. But, come on, we knew that wasn’t real life.
Then I bought my horse, Mel. I am still amazed at the amount of personality he has. Some days he is friendly and cuddly and other days he would rather be left alone. He is curious and down-right nosey, but also a bit of a chicken. And, he even displays jealousy. Who’d a thunk it.
There is a gray cat at the stables that is very friendly and loves attention. The cat doesn’t seem to be afraid of the horses at all. Whenever I am there, Ghost (the cat) comes by for some loving. At first I didn’t pay much attention, but then I noticed that when I coo and fuss over the cat, Mel doesn’t seem very pleased. I’ll pick up Ghost and say to Mel “Look Mel, here’s our kitty.” Mel will look and sniff the cat and then slowly turn his head away with his ears down. He seems to think if he ignores the cat, it will disappear!! I’ve seen a dog do this many times, but a horse?
And Mel is protective of me too – well, probably he’s just being territorial or something, but, hey, it’s my story. I went out to the pasture one day to get Mel, and when I called, all the horses must have thought it was dinner time. About 12 horses came running right toward me. I quickly stepped into the paddock on the other side of the fence, but was unable to get back out because the horses were all blocking the way and wouldn’t move. Mel to the rescue!! Mel, who wasn’t in as big a hurry as the rest of the gang, came from behind and bullied all the horses out of the way. He stood there while I haltered him and then he cleared the way for me to exit the paddock and the pasture. My Hero!