For the last many months, I've been trying to give the horses more credit. But sometimes I wonder if I'm still not giving them nearly enough.
I've been pondering an incident which happened a couple of days ago. Really, it doesn't merit the status of "incident" - it was the briefest of interactions between George and me.
If George is standing with his head by the fence and I want to walk along the fence line in front of him, I'll stop beside him, indicate that I want to pass, and then wait. He always steps back, with more or less good grace depending on the mood he's in.
The other day, it was me who was standing by the fence and George who wanted to get past. He came up - didn't exactly stop and ask - but neither did he push past. He made it clear that he was planning to get by me.
I didn't tell him no or shoo him away. However, I didn't move - and there wasn't room for him to pass. So he executed the horsey equivalent of a teenage eye roll, and went around behind me instead.
I must confess that in my mind some unformed atavistic thought was brewing - along the lines of: "Mustn't let the horse push me around." But - ahem - excuse me - can't we have a little give-and-take here? If he moves for me, why shouldn't I move for him? Why shouldn't we aspire to an egalitarian relationship characterized by mutuality and cordiality? I don't know from herd dynamics, and frankly I don't care if such relationships don't exist in the horse world - I want to have a relationship where the fact that I give way to you freely today in no way suggests that tomorrow I can be forced to give way. If horses don't know about that kind of arrangement, well they're smart enough - and moral enough - to desire it anyway. Hopefully so am I.
It may be a dog-eat-dog world, but in the Kingdom we're preaching, the lion eats straw like the ox, (poor ox, don't we have anything better to give him for supper?), the baby plays with the viper, and the George can be given an inch (or a few yards), and be trusted to not take a mile.
When George wanted to get past, I could have connected my attention to his, paused, and then invited him to pass in front of me. Why didn't I? Not surprising, as Jen-ska said in her comment to my last post, that he is still wondering about me.