Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deli's "other person."

I’d like to give a shout out to my boyfriend, Brian, and how he fits into the adventures I have with Deli.

He has a way with animals even though I am the “animal person”. It’s probably because he oozes calm in many stressful situations. Random dogs on the street will come up to him and sit to be petted. My 20 year old cat has since claimed him as “hers” despite only living with him now for a year and a half. Deli, being one of those Anxious Arabian Over-Thinkers ™, is definitely drawn towards his energy. When she was still getting clay poultices every other day on her injured leg and I had to go out of town for school, he was amazing and went out to the barn daily to not only to remove her poultice or put one on – and it’s no easy task to bandage the upper hind leg of a fidgety mare even for an experienced person – but he gave her medicine, took her temperature, cold hosed her leg,  and gave me frequent updates. Did he enjoy it? No way. I don’t enjoy wrestling with goo and bandages and cold hosing a bored horse either. What’s more amazing is that she let him.

This is interesting because Deli is not (no way, probably not ever) a beginners horse. She is too sensitive even if there isn’t a mean bone in her body (well, very few mean bones at least!). But she has always had the utmost care for him. Where she runs away, resists, fusses or otherwise makes it known that she is not happy to even experienced horse people, she will usually behave with more patience for Brian. And Brian alone. She won’t let him do everything, of course — truly scary things still need my more experienced touch (try clipping this horse, I dare you) — but she clearly thinks of him as her “other person”. When she was being anxious and pawing in the cross ties the other day, he grabbed her lead and lowered her head. He had apparently been paying attention to her “calm down” cue. I got some compliments on how great he was with her, especially in that it was good that he was aware of Deli’s space needs as he strategically moved to one side so she didn’t remove his kneecaps (she is a very talented pawer).  When things get stressful I can hand him her lead and ask him to take her out to graze and I can feel confident they aren’t going to hurt each other.

One thing Deli absolutely loves is to have her mane and tail bushed out. She loves it when you take the hard bristled brush and scratch her neck and shoulders with it. She even loves having her face curried carefully around her eyes. Grooming is Brian’s favorite part of horse care. If he’s with me, Deli gets the royal treatment of having her hair brushed till it shines, and her neck scratched until her eyes roll back in her head. Come shedding season I’ll beg for him to come out and groom her all over because he likes to try and strip her departing winter coat off in one go.

Right now Brian get s more actively involved in our adventures by joining us on our trail rides on foot. Now that Deli is boarded next to some amazing wilderness trails he is more than entertained by the gorgeous scenery. He also provides good company for us by adding another person to our circular conversations. And Deli gets a friend to roll her eyes with when I burst randomly into off-pitch songs (it's to scare off the cougars, I swear).

Not surprisingly, his favorite horse breeds include those that are known for having quite a lot of hair. He has promised that if I ever get him a horse with extravagant fetlock feathering he will keep them groomed and looking nice. You better believe I will hold him to that promise because fussing over poofy feet is not what I want to be doing when at the barn.

Sometimes I feel a little annoyed that he is one of those natural riders. His posture is better in the saddle than it is walking down the street, and he can sit the trot (still working on posting) like a dream after only a handful of rides.

Then again, it’s pretty neat.

I sincerely hope he sticks around and continues to be part of Deli’s family and staff. Who knows? Maybe in a couple years Brian will get his own horse and we will hit the trails together. At the very least I’m buttering him up to crew for Deli and I if we ever do achieve our endurance-riding goal.

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