The Day I Became A Horse Mom
When I met Danni I knew nothing about horses. No, I knew LESS than nothing. I knew they looked lovely in other people’s pastures. I knew they pooped A LOT! I knew they also ate A LOT! I had been on a horse once in my life and it hadn’t gone well.
Let me explain how I met Danni. I had a teenage daughter who madly loved horses. She had been riding with a friend for years and desperately wanted a horse of her own. She had been offered a horse! A horse to keep for several years at no initial cost. Her only cost would be the boarding, feeding, vet expenses. These expenses are no small item but without having the initial expense of a purchase price it became a bit more doable.
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My enterprising teenager took on a total of 3 part-time jobs to pay for Danni’s room and board. She also willingly shoveled poop, fed and exercised Danni daily. As a horse mom I volunteered to help with some of the poop shoveling (hey, it’s good exercise!) and occasionally took a turn feeding Danni if my daughter was not home. I even learned how to lunge her in the round pen.
The Realization ~ This Horse Was A Very Gentle Animal
It took me some time to realize that Danni really was a gentle animal. She just wanted to be your friend and follow you around. It’s a bit disconcerting at first being followed by a 1000 lb animal. Upon seeing one of us enter the barn to feed she would immediately hang her head and upper body over the 1/2 door watching and waiting. To get her hay and grain into the feeding trough it then became necessary to get her to back up so the door could be opened.
First time I tried that I tapped her on the chest. Nothing. Tapped her again while saying, “Back! Back!” Nothing! Laughing, my daughter poked Danni in the chest with a closed fist while forcefully saying, “BACK!” Immediately Danni responded. My daughter reminded me that this is a very large animal and my gentle tap would have been appropriate for a puppy, not this huge horse! After that I asserted my authority a bit more and she responded accordingly. She hadn’t been trying to defy me but my methods hadn’t impressed her any more than the irritation of a fly.
She Became A Part Of Our Family
Danni was a part of our family for over 3 years. We hauled hay, broke ice on her water during cold winters, washed her, brushed her, loved her and my daughter rode her a lot. She was beautiful and gentle.
While the majority of the responsibility for her fell to my daughter, I joined in often enough that I got to know and appreciate this beautiful animal as well as the additional bonding time I had with my daughter while we jointly cared for Danni. I never did learn to ride. I didn’t even try to get on her. But I did get over my fear of being in close proximity to horses and I did come to love that particular horse and the wonderful addition she was to our family.