Menesson, Casalae Farms’ champion Arabian stud stallion, is a bright, educated horse who has recently turned 23 years old. He’s quietly absorbed a lot of English along the way. And, he’s a dead shot. Read on...
Today I walked up to his roomy stall’s window sill and greeted him. He was facing the back wall’s corner munching heaped hay, but turned his beautiful head toward me, recognizing my voice.
“I brought an apple for you, big guy,” said I, and his perfect ears perked up. He left his breakfast then and came to me, poking his head over the sill. A long strand of hay still dangled from his mouth, giving him a rakish look. Grinning, I pulled it out and proffered the apple.
“Take a bite while I hold it.”
He did. He bit down on a reasonable-sized piece of the succulent apple and gently took it in. After contentedly munching its sweet juices he carefully chopped off another bite while I held on tight, and chewed that one with pensive enjoyment. Two more bites disappeared the same way. Then we were down to its long, seeded core. I offered this last bit on my palm and he expertly scooped it up.
After sniffing my hands one final time, just in case, he continued to munch the last remnants while I admired his face, his large, dark eyes, surrounded by a thick liner of black skin, which emphasizes their beauty ---wait!
Both eyes harbored large, hard black ‘sleep sand’ at their inner corners.
Hmmm. Would he allow me to remove them?
Well, just ask.
“Menesson, your eyes want cleaning; would you please lower your head so I can?”
Without hesitation, he did exactly that. Tears welled, mostly from awe.
Don’t stand there mimicking a gobsmacked codfish. He might change his mind!
I raised my hands to begin.
At that, his head came down even lower, toward my chest, and then- he closed his eyes.
Approaching his left eye first I used both hands to cup his face, and gently dislodged, then eased, a big black ‘cinder’ out of its corner and chucked it away. He kept chewing the apple core, still ‘in the dark.’ I switched smoothly to his shuttered right eye. When he felt that one loosen and vanish he opened them again, raised his head, shook it and snorted. I stood there, keeping my face pleasant and calm. “Good boy. All done.” (But I wanted to punch the air, hop around and shout, “We’re communicating!”)
He turned back toward breakfast, displaying his big, rumpled, buckled coat more fully. He’d been down during the cold night. Clinging straw and sawdust revealed which side he’d favored.
I began to clean his home in a fog of delight while he ate and amicably shifted position once to allow me room to snatch up a big poop pile huddled against the wall, half-hidden by hay.
Resistance is futile. Not one escapes my fork.
Oh, and just for fun, Menesson couldn’t resist demonstrating another self-taught skill. He knew what that bucket was for and got a kick out of demonstrating it once again.
With a flourish, he backed up to it, and, after measuring twice with his hind hooves to make sure he was centered, raised his tail and pooped into it. Every ‘baseball’ scored a home run.
I cheered and chuckled and he made a celebratory circle around his stall before returning to his hay. Grinning, I carried on collecting the rest of what gardeners call ‘black gold.’ All of this horse-recycled food residue will be recycled yet again...and again...
My fork made almost no noise. Good.
Animals prefer to dine in peace and quiet.
I walk into the stable knowing I’ll walk out wiser, or laughing, or both...What fun!