The Queen

If the truth be known it is me who will benefit the most from her – No matter what other troubles I might have, she is my cure.

Guilty Girl

Guilty Girl

I recognized it the very first time I met her. There was just something about her that I just could not get off my mind. Not what I pictured when envisioning my dream horse by a long shot. Guilty stood a mere 14.3 hands, was at least 200 lbs. overweight, her feet were neglected horribly and she had not been handled or ridden for about 6 years. She stood in a small backyard paddock with her 3 year old filly who had never been out of her sight and was spoiled rotten with treats from her owners and the neighbors. But she was special. I may have been the only one who thought so at the time, but I knew that this was the horse for me. Something about the name “Guilty” rang true with me. How could a horse with a name like that be anything but special? After many months of finagling and bartering, I finally brought her home. Guilty actually has the very regal registered quarter horse name of “King Leo’s Golden Bars” and her grandmother’s name was “Quilty”. Somehow this morphed into the absolutely perfect name for her although it came about because of the way her coat shines with seemingly golden threads running through it when in the direct sun- like gilded gold. I have never seen another like it. Nor have I ever seen another horse like her. She may be the smartest horse I have ever dealt with and she definitely earns her name. I have volumes of stories about her antics, her bravery and her character. She is the matriarch of our herd without question. In her own quiet and passive way, she gets her point across time and again. When challenged for her position by a newcomer, she doesn’t fight. Rather, she merely picks up the entire group and moves them to another part of the pasture leaving the newbie all alone and wondering what happened? As soon as she is humbly acknowledged as the leader, she welcomes the new horse into the herd graciously without any violence. She behaves like royalty – demanding respect in a dignified manner, and she gets it. She will not be bullied by horse or human. Unless asked politely and correctly, she refuses to even acknowledge the request. Trust me, I have learned more from this horse because of her “resistance” than all the rest put together. Asked nicely, she will do anything for you – just don’t try to make her do anything. Not too much to ask from a mare who is now almost 24 and has never kicked, reared, bucked, bit or bolted, no matter how unskilled the rider or handler. She is one of those horses that you wouldn’t take a million dollars for, couldn’t get a nickel for, but would give away if it meant a better life than I could give her. That is what I have decided to do. She has a chance to have a home with someone who knows her, appreciates her little quirks and loves her like I do. She will actually get much more attention than I have been able to give her recently and I foresee even less in the future. She deserves it and it is what I want for her, as much as I will miss her. As her new soon-to-be owner, her barefoot trimmer and I stood discussing the transfer of ownership, we watched her performing her role as the “main squeeze” in her pasture where a new horse had just arrived. The remark was made that Guilty was a princess. I quickly corrected that by stating “Oh no, she is the “Queen”.

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Perception is Reality

If she is the Alpha who looks out for the herd, remember her position and please don’t forget – She carries the responsibility of her job seriously – She won’t hesitate to offer her life to protect.

The day started warming up nicely after a nasty wet and cold night. I had blanketed several of the horses the evening before, but now temperatures were rising and I decided to remove the coats. Most of the herd was in the upper pasture already so I had to carry the heavy coats back through the lower pasture to put them in the barn. I carried one in each hand and had to hold my arms up on either side of my head to keep them from dragging on the muddy ground as I walked. The result was that I looked like a big, tall shapeless form with no visible head. As I came through the lower pasture where a few of the horses were grazing, they were startled at the sight of me and ran up to be with the horses in the upper pasture-or so I thought.  I suddenly became aware of a movement behind me. Then I heard the snorts and pawing. Turning to see what the commotion was all about, I saw my alpha mare, Guilty, making half circles side to side and behind me. She was following me and trying to determine just what kind of monster had eaten her owner and what she was going to do about it. As I turned to face her, she lowered her head, pawed at the ground, tossed her head and snorted. I realized that she was getting ready to charge me. She started for me, still not knowing what she was attacking. I dropped the coats and stepped away from the pile, shouting: “Guilty, it’s me”! As soon as she heard my voice and saw me in my usual form, she stopped dead in her tracks and looked me in the eye still thinking it might be a trick. As soon as she was convinced it was really me, she came up and touched me.  She then went directly over and trampled the coats – just to be sure. She was proud of the fact that she saved me, but I was even more proud of her. I want to believe that she defended me because she thought she was protecting me and would do just that if the situation really called for it.

The Alpha Mare

The Alpha Mare

She is the lead mare and it is her job to protect her herd.   Instead of running away like the other horses when they saw the strange sight of me coming over the hill, she stayed and was ready to fight. She was brave and courageous.  I got a good laugh out of that incident but I didn’t let her know that. That’s my girl and I love her.