Monday, June 19, 2006

Haflinger Fun Day

The last two days have been real scorchers and for some reason I started thinking about something that I hadn't thought about in years. How Haflinger people (as well as other horse people) love to get together for a fun day with their families and their beloved horses. We drive out our ponies to someone's farm and do all kinds of fun activities for children and adults alike. Some bordering on completely silly like egg and spoon contests where you'd ride bareback holding an egg in a spoon. The "announcer" would call out the gait - starting with a walk. Most people could do this with no problem, except me where I'd start laughing and slide off. I can't walk and chew gum, and I can't ride bareback and laugh. Then they would call for a trot. Well, lots of eggs bit the dust along with their riders - everyone would be laughing now. If anyone was left, they'd ask for a canter. Now truth be known that for most horses the canter is a smoother gait than the trot so if the riders made it through the trot, the canter was easier. If you still had more than one person the announcer would start going up and down canter to trot to walk to trot, etc. The winner was typically some great little kid with great balance - much fun would be had by all - especially when they didn't hard boil the eggs (grins).

We enjoyed the poker runs with our driving ponies. They did very well because they didn't spook at all the various "scary" set ups and we'd get in a pretty good run and come in fast. However, our luck at poker was usually pretty dismal. We had a blast!

Upon reflection, these "fun" days were defined by us humans. I thought about how we were having all the fun and the horses were doing all the work. Yes, the horses were having fun as well. Horses have a great sense of humor and probably got a good kick out of their riders sliding off breaking eggs all over themselves. Oh - you don't think horses have a sense of humor? They do! For example, our horse Aikman who was our spare for our driving pair, has an incredible sense of humor. Aikman had a trick of sucking up a mouthful of water and coming over and spilling it all down the front of you when you'd go in to take his empty feed bucket. Coincidence you say? Perhaps. Harder to disprove was the time when Len and his friend was fixing an automatic waterer in the pasture. They were about five feet away from the waterer when Aikman went over and pulled in a big mouthful of water. I watched as Aikman wandered over to Len and Dean and waited until they were both bending over, heads down. Aikman then deliberately opened his mouth and dropped water on both of their heads. I wish I had a video camera and I had to try hard not to laugh - it was November and neither man was amused with that stunt!

I started thinking about what a true "fun day" would be for one of our Haflingers and the provided cartoon "popped" out. Although probably their favorite is eating food rather than dreaming about it, but that wouldn't be as entertaining of a cartoon. Horses are amusing creatures (and I'm certain they think the same thing about us!!)

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