Fun, Fun, Fun

animal wisdom childhood horse wisdom weather winter Dec 13, 2022
Horse being ridden and pulling a skier

Expecting The Beach Boys? Probably not, unless you’re a certain age. 

It’s the winter season, and for some of us that means cold, snow, and more cold. And probably wind. 

On those cold, windy days my idea of fun with any of my animals is lounging on the coach, reading a good book. I’m surrounded by cats and sometimes dogs, although the canines tend to push into me with their legs. They MUST have all the space. Whose dogs are these, anyway? They’re dogs without boundaries, that’s for sure.

Our couch. OURS.

However, when the sun is shining and there’s little wind, it’s fun to get outside and do stuff with the animals. Not the cats, of course, unless it means going out on the deck and sitting in the sun, but that’s a little too cool for me. So fun with the cats is opening and closing the door so they can go out, sit in the sun until the cold permeates their fur, and then letting them back in. Yeah, I want to spend my day doing that.

The dogs, however, love to run in the cold, and if there’s snow, it’s a bonus. Niko is our snow dog; if there’s even a whisper of snow he wants to be out in it. The two girls will go out and play, but they have to keep moving to prevent freezing in place, so they’ll go out, run around, and come back in, panting and happy. Once they’ve got the ya-ya’s out, they’re content to do some of that book-reading-couch-potato activity that is at the top of my list this time of year.

Niko the Snow Dog

The horses are happy to be out in the pasture, grazing, and it doesn’t seem to matter how cold it is. When the wind is high, we put “jackets” on them (turnout sheets with no fiber fill, that are waterproof and keep the wind off of them), and they will disappear for the day into the back field. That’s these horses, here in Colorado, where the snow comes and goes pretty quickly.

In Wisconsin, where I grew up, the snow tends to stick around for a while and winter sports of all varieties are pretty popular (not with me, but lots of people like being cold and wet). There was a horse boarded with us who lived for winter and the neighbor kids. The six of them would hustle over with a long rope and a big piece of cardboard, saddle up Sam, attach the rope to the saddle, and have him pull them all over the outdoor riding arena. There’d be one kid riding, managing the rope, and one kid butt surfing, with the rest of the kids waiting their turn. For Sam, this was the best part of the day. Here was a horse who was terrified of most everything, but having a piece of cardboard with a laughing kid on it “chasing” him around was not one of them. With those kids, he was gentle, enthusiastic, and kind. He seemed to understand that the kid-on-the-cardboard was never going to hurt him, and he would play that game for hours.

This horse looks a lot like Sam; his kids sat on a large piece of cardboard.

The kids gave him lots of attention and let him know that he was really, really good at what he was doing. I think the rest of us saw Sam as a scared, difficult to work around sort of horse, because he was so spooky most of the time. But those kids saw nothing but the best in him, and he blossomed under their care.

Now there’s a lesson! What you see is what you get. If you think the worst of the world and the people in it, that’s what you attract. But if you think the best, and reach out to the world and the people and beings in it with love, you’ll get that good vibe returned to you a thousand fold. 

What a good teacher you were, Sam. Thank you.


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