While we often have articles on here written by horse enthusiasts for horse enthusiasts, we don’t regularly get the point of view of the horse himself. This week, I’m introducing a new blogger for Eventing Nation. He’s French (which makes him both prissy and fancy), he’s larger than life, and he has way more opinions than any of the regular writers for EN. His name is Nyls (pronounced “Nilz”) and he’s here to tell you all the ways in which you can succeed at being a really B.A. event horse, and also a colossal pain the butt. Without further ado, I present it straight from the horse’s mouth.
After my first installment on Eventing Nation (Spooking and Other Ways to Excel at Annoying Your Human) was received so well in both the equine and human world, I felt that it was my duty to continue in my education of my fellow equines. The purpose of my literary series is to enlighten all of you on ways in which you can handle your humans, and train them as you wish. Obviously, this is a daunting task with no real graduation date in sight, as humans tend to be both slow learners and stubbornly independent in some ways.
One of the ways in which our humans like to spend their time with us is to throw us on the moving metal boxes, rattle us down the road and then spend a few days at something they call a “show”. These things can be varying degrees of interest to us horses, and sometimes even fun. However, shows are the times when humans become the most bossy, requiring you to behave yourself for extended periods of time, and sometimes multiple times in one day! Here are my favorite ways of handling this situation, from beginning to end, all of which are tried and true methods by yours truly.
- When you realize that the trailer is being packed with all of the usual accoutrements, quickly dirty yourself. If you are in a stall, roll in some poop the best way you can (I know, distasteful….but this is imperative) or even better if you are in a field, dig up a dirt/mud hole and scrounge your skin in it. When your human comes to fetch you for the traveling, be sure to look adorable and innocent. After all, a dumb animal like you couldn’t have known better!
- As for the travel itself, well, nobody really likes it, so be sure to let your human know in some way. Pretending that you’ve never been on a horse trailer and have completely forgotten how to load works in a pinch. At stoplights, use the opportunity to kick with varying degrees of strength, just to stretch your legs. When you arrive at the event and unload, showing off your Arabian ancestry with a flagged tail and some passage is always a nice touch. Entrance is everything.
- For the next few days, if you are stabled at the competition, your human is your personal slave. Let them know this unequivocally. Expect that poops will be cleaned from your stall within minutes of being dropped. Your hay and water should never run low, and if it does you should feel free to harass the horse next to you for his, thereby creating a fun reason for your human to
apologizetalk to the human next door.
- When you hear the trumpet of “LOOSE HORSE!!!” throughout the stables, this is nothing if not a call to action. Imagine all the mustang movies you’ve seen of herds of horses galloping away in a cloud of dust….this could be you! Those “stall guards” that your human attaches to the door of your room are attached by flimsy string that pop with just the slightest lean of a chest…and you’re off! If you can gallop around the dressage arenas, all the better.
- When it comes to the actual competition part, I like to vary my routine between behaving and acting like I’m a fresh two year old. I’m sure that each and every one of you have your own personal flair here to add, and I will only add one caution: If you are naughty on the show grounds, you must behave under tack, or visa versa. There cannot be too much naughty or too much nice, because that just makes everything boring. Pick your battles!
- When your human is preparing to take you out into the competition, they are generally wearing their best, cleanest clothing. White pants?! HA! Who thought that one up!? This is an invitation to sneeze, rub, or blow slime on any part of your human that you can reach. Upper thigh of the white pants before dressage + green mouth slime = perfection.
- If your human is genuinely nervous about something, this is the time to bring out your professional side. We must, in some ways, consider ourselves babysitters for the lesser species, but they do in fact have the key to the feed room so……
At the end of the day (or weekend) it is important to remember to indulge your human in some way, no matter how small. Whether you choose to nicker slightly when you see them (which we know as the call to breakfast) or allow some snuggling after rides, you must allow the human to continue in their illusion that they are in charge. After many years of mental challenges, your human will eventually come to accept you as the superior being in both physical and mental realms, and then you will know that you have trained them properly. Constant vigilance!