Friday, May 24, 2013

A Lesson in Manners

I don’t suppose that too many of you laughed the last time you were bitten by a horse.  But I was bitten by a horse the other day, and I have to say, I laughed out loud.
A little mare with big opinions.

It was a hot, muggy night (hard to believe, now that it might snow again, two days later).  The gnats were out in force.  I noticed the nasty little things were bothering the sheep, biting their undersides, and the poor sheep’s only recourse was to lie in the grass and get as flat as possible.

Seeing the sheep, I went to check the horses.  You horse owners know that gnats go right for the ears and the belly.  They especially like the invisible seam that runs down the middle of the belly, as well as the center of the chest, the armpits, the inside of the hind legs and, in the case of mares, the udders.  In the case of geldings, the sheaths.

Sure enough, the gnats were biting all of those spots on my mares, so I grabbed my jar of Swat.  Swat is good for protection against gnats because it goes on as a thick paste, so it provides a physical as well as a chemical barrier, and it sticks on for quite a while.

I smeared some inside Hudson’s and Starlights ears, chests, armpits, belly lines, inside their legs and across their udders, then started to do the same to DeCato. 

Now, remember that I don’t handle DeCato as often as I do the other two, and she doesn’t get the full-body contact that one necessarily gives a riding horse.  She does like to be groomed, though, and usually stands like a statue for all such attention.

I rubbed the gooey Swat along her belly seam and then put an additional glob on my hand and, leaning under to see what I was doing, applied it to her udder.

All of a sudden, WHAM! I got smacked and pinched all at once, right on my lower back.  I jumped up, recognizing that unmistakable feeling of a horse bite.   

I glared at DeCato, who glared back at me with a totally affronted, ears-pinned, mare face that clearly said, “Get your filthy self away from my nipples!”

OK, it was bad behavior, but I had to laugh.   In retrospect, here was a mare I didn’t usually touch on her udder, and suddenly, I’m bent over with my head down there, roughly rubbing her nipples back and forth. 

Well, shoot, I would have bitten someone for doing that, too! 

I told her, “DeCato! No!” and went to finish the work.  She pinned her ears and snaked her head toward me again, and I told her, “NO!”

I guess she decided that she had made her point, and if I insisted, she would tolerate it.  But I was quick about it and then backed off, telling her that, this time, she was a good girl.

“Humph,” she seemed to say.

In the end, I received a little bruise and a big reminder about the highly opinionated, and sometimes quite relatable, sensibilities of mares.


  1. Lol, you made me laugh!
    That'll teach you to get personal with a mare without going through the proper introductions!!

  2. LOL Allie loves it when her teat area is rubbed and cleaned.

    1. Some of 'em loves it. Some of 'em hates it.