Horse Report: Loki

Loki hoping for apples
Loki hoping for apples

This is Loki.

I only have one semi-good picture of him; he’s black, and he ends up looking like a shadow, but getting more is on my to-do list.

He’s a mischievous boy of about eleven. We’re not sure of his exact age, since my friend Robert got him as a rescue and no one knew much about him. As far as we can tell, he was never handled much, if at all. At any rate, he didn’t lead, and he didn’t let himself be haltered. He was, however, happy to be given treats.

What we do know is that, when he was a foal, a cow stepped on him and broke his pelvis. It never healed correctly, and the best description is that he has three good legs and a kickstand. He does limp, and he can never be ridden, but he can rest weight on the leg, and when he wants to run, he picks it up and runs on the other three.

The first time I saw him lying down in the pasture, I panicked–how in heaven’s name would I ever get him up?!–but by the time I got out of my car and into my barn boots, he was up and grazing. Every time I see him lying flat out on the ground, my heart has a little palpitation, but apparently, the boy just likes to sun himself.

When he first came to the stables, I was afraid the other horses would pick on him, but they haven’t. He takes up for himself, and he isn’t even at the bottom of the hierarchy.

I took Loki because options were limited for a crippled horse who had never been handled. Then, because Pete required a lot of time and attention and because I was still pretty green, I wasn’t able do much with him beyond making sure he was fed and cared for. Since his attitude toward people was pretty much take-em-or-leave-em (but he’ll take the treats, thank you very much), that was fine with him.

“When Pete’s gone,” I thought, “it will be Loki’s turn.”

And now it is.

They say when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Pete was the right teacher for the novice I was when I got him. Working with Loki is a whole new challenge.

We’re both learning a lot. He halters easily now, and he leads pretty well from the left (still working on the right). We’re doing clicker training, which he’s responding well to, but everything new is a negotiation.

Him: What is that?

Me: You know what that is. It’s fly spray.

Him: Nope. Nope. I don’t like it.

Me: It will keep the flies off. You know, the ones that bite? The ones that make you all itchy because you’re allergic?

Him: No, sorry, nope, I don’t– Hey, what did you just do?

Me: Just a little spray. It doesn’t hurt. I even got the non-toxic kind.

<A quick squirt, and by the time he realizes he should fling his head and dance away, I’ve given him a click that drives the thought from his mind.>

Him: Oh look. Here’s a treat! That’s all you wanted?

Me: That’s all I wanted. I told you it was no big deal.

Him: And there’s food at the end? Oh. Well. I guess that’s okay, then.

 

I’ll keep you posted.

 

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