• Sue Steiner

Can’t We all Just Get Along?

Optimism has varying degrees.  Optimism can go from being a little upbeat to perky to imaginative, to unrealistic, to fantasy-like thinking, to Utopian, to way off base, to flat out denial.

I can see this in myself sometimes.  I can be a little imaginative – i.e. unrealistic.  I am an artist.  I do not deal with practical.  I deal with possibilities!  

When I brought my recent rescue horses home I admit my motivations might of been a little idealistic.  A little horse uptoian-ish.   I recently saved two (and soon to be 3) horses from going to slaughter.  Anyone knows this is risky.  Especially when I did it without even seeing the horses in person.  The good folks at the rescue barn do a nice job of providing riding videos and photos so at least you have some idea of what you are getting into.  Saving a horse in such dire circumstances is satisfying to say the least.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  The horses are thriving and doing well.  I am riding them and enjoying them.  

One unexpected issue though.  This one completely blindsided me.  I was mentally prepared for medical emergencies, unmanageable horses… that kind of thing.  What I was not prepared for is this….

Breed Segregation!

I did my part of slowly introducing the horses.  I understand herd dynamics and realise horses need to work out some horsey things on their own.  I NEVER expected to find breed discrimination in MY herd!!  Arabs congregating on one side and Quarter horses on another.  Any horse person knows those two breeds are worlds apart in ‘culture, belief systems and personality’.   I love both breeds.  To me different is not bad.  Sure, quarter horses are laid back, while arabs are generally high energy.  Arabs are refined and fine boned, quarter horses are stocky, muscular and big boned.  One even holds their head high while the other prefers a lower head set. 

But really…. can’t we all just get along???  Every day I turn them out and one breed goes in one direction and the other the opposite way.  My visions of horse harmony on earth just hasn’t quite materialized yet.   I am hopeful the two breeds will begin to see their similarities rather than their differences.  Both groups have a higher percentage of chestnut mares.  They all have 4 legs.  They even share a common history of either being rescued or the offspring of a rescue horse.  

I am a teeny, tiny bit worried though.  Their little closed pasture will soon be invaded with the likes of something they haven’t had to deal with since Flicka lived here.  Today a Tennesse Walker is arriving.  A gaited horse that has feet that don’t even MOVE the way their feet move.  Now I fully expect to hear some horse debate going on– whether this foot movement preference is due to nuture or nature.  Was he born like this?  Or was he trained with artifical methods to do this?   Endless, circular debates that get us no where closer to our horse utopia where we all just get along.