All right little ladies. And when I say little, I’m specifically referring to ladies between the age when you start asking your parents for a pony for Christmas, to whenever that stops (i.e. you realize it’s never gonna happen, so you may as well stop wasting precious list space). On behalf of all the parents out there, I would like you to reconsider your request for a pony this year.
I know, I know. You dream about how awesome you’ll look galloping around on Black Beauty, wind in your hair, free and powerful like Rainbow Brite on Starlite, off to color the world with your Star Sprinkles, or She-Ra, Princess of Power and her winged unicorn, Swift Wind, leading freedom fighters to save your homeland from the evil tyrannical ruler.
I totally get it. I too, wanted a horse when I was your age. I hate to disappoint, but real ponies can’t talk or fly, they don’t have magical horns or rainbow-colored manes. They can’t communicate telepathically. And actually, as it turns out, they are a lot of work, that, if we’re being honest with ourselves, you know your parents will just end up doing after you get bored with it on day five, even though you promised them you’d take care of it forever and ever.
Perhaps I can interest you in a similar friend, one that doesn’t eat all day long and require a whole ‘nother house outdoors, something more realistic, like a puppy. Trust me, if I learned anything in my month here, I learned: I am not the horse whisperer, shocks from electric fences are surprisingly shocking, and horses are basically big puppy dogs.
For starters, personal space means nothing to either of them. When I lived with the huskies in Finland, they took over my bed, lounged on the kitchen table, licked my face without permission. When I lived with the horses, they nibbled on whatever piece of my body they could reach and weren’t okay with that comfortable distance in which we could have a conversation. They needed to breathe my air, nudge my face and continually get all up in my work business.
And both are phenomenal yogis. I caught Seán doing a perfect downward facing dog a few mornings (sadly, no camera), maybe even better than an actual dog, so good, I questioned if the pose should be renamed downward facing horse.
Puppies and ponies both have that sweet scratch spot. You know you’ve found it on a dog when they thump their back leg in uncontrollable glee, and on a horse, their eyes get all droopy and their heads sway, giving them a highly intoxicated look. And both wait eagerly at the fence for your attention, though I am pretty sure they are just hoping for a treat.
Both animals are equally as playful and enjoy running around, kicking and nipping at each other, bumping bodies, swatting tails, and showing teeth.
For some reason, both really get a kick out of tipping their food dishes over and slurping from the ground.
I was pleased to note that both dogs and horses have the worst gas. Every night in Finland, either Iinna or Ivan or both, would silently fill my bedroom with a potent unexplained mystery odor. Horses are less secretive about it. When they take off running, extremely loud farts follow them the whole way. I like hanging around animals I can blame my own indiscretions on, especially since they can’t deny it. What’s more is, the horses, dogs and I are actually pretty much saving your life as some researchers believe that smelling flatulence could be key to preventing cancer. So, you’re welcome.
Horses and dogs are both pack animals and really hate to be left alone. I learned this the hard way when we left Nuchi (recovering from ball removal surgery) in the cabin to feed the rest of the dogs and he somehow managed to lock himself in my room. When we came back, he had torn off his cone, wiped my camera, my books, my computer, everything off the table, took a wee on my yoga mat, scratched the crap out of both the door and window frames, and was practically hyperventilating with exhaustion on the bed. Similarly, when you take one horse in from the field for any reason, you always take a buddy, or they get nervous and restless and whinny like crazy. Even if the two horses get too far apart when you’re leading them in, they get a little panicky, which is how I sort of got kicked in the back. Lesson learned.
Both enjoy a good romp and roll.
Both are born to run.
Ah, you know what? I’ve never been into crushing dreams. Think big. Ask for a puppy and a pony.