Saturday, July 25, 2009

Love From The Ponies

Yesterday whilst out checking on all the livestock, I stopped for a moment in the pasture with the horses. First off to check everybody over and secondly to get some love from Etta, who is always reliable about coming up and saying hello.

Now, normally, I can lay hands on two or three of the horses on a given day. Etta, always. It's not that they don't like me or are afraid of me, it's more that usually they're in a playful mood or absolutely convinced that I want to catch them, so they stay just out of reach, unless I've brought them a little treat of grain.

Yesterday, I didn't have any grain, and I just wanted to love on Etta for a moment before I went on my merry way, but suddenly I looked up and all six of the horses were jostling around me like they usually do when there's grain involved. Except, a little more polite since they weren't working their food hierarchy over.

Every one of them came up and got love, at least a couple of strokes down nose and neck. Joan, mom's older mare who was under the influence of a proud-cut gelding for the last year (he went elsewhere about a month ago) and who has been sticking with his "better not to be touched" philosophy, came up and rested her nose against my waist, while I stroked her all over her head.

Even Monkey, who's favorite games are "Go away closer" and "Catch me Catch me" came right up for some love, and lipped at my hat and hair in his own personal brand of affection.

I just caught them at the right time, feeling the togetherness vibe, and they included me in their wanting to be together. It's been a while since I've gotten to feel that with a whole herd, and it felt pretty darned good!

6 comments:

Old NFO said...

That is great! And something that most will never enjoy or even see... And to get them all at once? You must have had on "something" they liked :-) I know, I know, the personality...

Anonymous said...

Help out a city boy here, what does proud-cut mean?

Farmgirl said...

Anonymous-

A gelding is a castrated male horse. (Just so we're all on the same page.)

A proud-cut gelding is a horse that when he was gelded, not all of the testosterone-producing tissues were removed. He still gets the hormones that tell him to act like a stud.

Sometimes it's just a bit of tissue left behind, those cases aren't bad. Sometimes a horse is a cryptorchid, which means that one or more testicles are retained in the body cavity. Generally, they're sterile, because the increased heat inside the body (compared to where testicles are supposed to be...) kills the sperm, but all of the hormones are still in effect, and they act just like a full stud.

Sometimes a horse (or bull calf) has a third testicle. These are usually retained in the body cavity even if the other two drop properly.

It's really easy, if you're cutting a horse yourself, to miss a bit of tissue, or a cryp testicle. So the horse gets either a minor or a major (I've seen horses with extra testicles that have been missed when they were cut seem to go into testosterone overdrive. Same with missed tissue although it takes a pretty shoddy job of gelding to leave behind enough tissue to make it an issue) dose of testosterone.

Trivia for the day: Cryptorchidism is also known as "dropping in a flank" because sometimes the connective tissues that "hang" the testicles are the proper length, and they slide down into the horse's flank instead of dropping into their proper position.

Pawpaw said...

Never underestimate the curiosity of a horse. When I'd want to catch a particular horse, I'd go out in the pasture and pretend to be doing something totally unrelated, like looking at an ant bed. Maybe inspecting a fence.

The point was to make sure that I was doing something out of the ordinary. In just a few minutes, the horses would be looking over my shoulder.

Christina LMT said...

Awww...that reminds me of a scene from Jane's life...except it's REAL, not fiction!

mustanger said...

Kinda reminds me of one time back in late 1997 or early '98... I had the Saddlebred gelding I have now and a mustang mare. I was rubbing on the mare's shoulder across the stall door. Next thing I knew, the gelding was rubbing his nose in my back and the mare was rubbing her nose on the gelding's withers.