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Saturday, September 25, 2010


Farley’s neighbor is a thief.

And so is my left hand.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I like Jeff. He’s a BIG quarter horse with a cute face. I feel a bit sorry for him – the stable owners are trying to put weight on him – and he enjoys/needs/wants the constant buffet that Farley seems to enjoy. (I’m becoming a believer in “skinny horse wants hay? Give them hay…” but have had great practice at keeping my mouth shut, having boarded for 4 years). However, feeling sorry for Jeff does NOT translate into me subsidizing whatever feeding program he is on. So when my 880 pound horse appears to be eating a bale of hay every two days…’s time for action.

Jeff is big enough the he can merrily reach over the divider of the shelter and pilfer food from Farley’s fruit bin that I use as a feeder.

Mel’s counter: buy a 99 cent tomato cage, make it flat, and block off the access above the fruit bin.

Jeff’s counter: get on his knees and pilfer from the ground, underneath the shelter divider, where a substantial amount of the hay falls.

Mel’s counter: Move the “old” feeder (oval metal tank) to block where the hay was falling by the edge of the shelter. This serves double duty as to “catch” the hay that falls out of the fruit bin!

Jeff’s counter: Reaching his abnormally long neck around my tomato cage and waiting until Farley tosses her hay….then catches it.

Mel’s counter: Use a truck bed cargo net to block off the REST of the shelter so that Jeff can no longer even get his HEAD over to Farley’s side (there’s plenty of room for socialization over the fence at the other end of the paddock – I’m just blocking the area between the shelters where I feed the hay.

Jeff’s counter: eat the net

Mel’s counter: Yell at Jeff (even though she still thinks he is cute)

Jeff’s counter: sulk and stand in the sun at the perfect angle to show his (there, but not hugely visible) ribs.

It will be interesting to see how long a bale lasts now that there’s no opportunity for thievery.

Alas! If only my left hand was as easily controlled through cargo nets and tomato cages…..

I have a left hand that grabs, snatches, and holds against my permission. At my last lesson, while cantering right, I did NOT pull with my left hand. AT ALL. Farley tempted me to. Dared me to. Double-D-Dared me with a cherry on top. But I didn’t…..and the result was a wonderfully soft, forward, straight canter.

I’m off to make my thieving left hand write, 100 times: “You do NOT get a horse on the outside rein by pulling on the outside rein!!!!!”

And when it’s done with that, it can write “I shall not hold my inside rein, I shall NOT hold my inside rein”.

But while I’m at it, I have an issue to address with the right! “Dear Right hand – do not play the victim, Left may taunt you and be overbearing, but you have a job too!”.

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