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Is It Me, Or Is It The

The following is a true story, only the breed and the barn have been withheld to protect the innocent.

When we met I was a little nervous. I had been accustomed to my routine, my food, my
environment and my friends. She smelled different. It burned my nose when she got close. She put
her hand on my muzzle and for the rest of the day nothing smelled the same. She brought a friend.
He smelled different too. The smell was all over him but it was stronger when he opened his mouth
and his breath came out and I could see it. It bothered my eyes too and I had to blow my nose lots of
times. I was tied up so I couldn’t get away from it the whole time they were there. They touched me
here and there, picked up my foot. Mostly they wanted to put their hands into my face and pat me. It
would have felt so great if they had rubbed my chest or that special spot that always needs
scratching by my withers…….I always have a spasm somewhere on my neck that can use
massaging, but no they had to pat me between the eyes. As you can imagine, I wasn’t so excited to
continue this relationship.

Next came the saddling and biting. You know how you feel after you have just had a big meal? Your
belly is all relaxed and hanging, maybe you’ve got a little “gasssssssss”? She can’t lift the saddle so
he does it for her. Hey! Did anybody ask if I could lift the saddle? WAAAUMPPH it landed on my
back. He shook it to make sure it was settled, ran the leather through the cinch a COUPLE times
then…..Oh Boy! He gave that strap a good strong pull and then did it again. “Wait! Wait!” I think to
myself. “ Give me a chance here to catch my breath! I feel violated! What did it mean when he said,
“kinda cinchy..”?” She says, “he’s cute” and pats me on my forehead again. Here comes the bit. I’ve
been having this one tooth that has been bugging me. Nothing serious but I just hate bumping it.
You guessed it; he jammed that bit in so fast, and the strap that goes under my jawbone hung up on
my lip. He yanked on it and when it freed up it bounced into my mouth straight onto that tooth. It
made me come right up into the air! It took a minute to catch my breath. I did that while we walked
into the arena. It felt good to be out of my stall and moving around. I already forgot what went on
before we got to the arena. I smelled the wide-open spaces and it just felt good! He climbed into the
saddle. You know I can see him out of both eyes. Well, not all of him. The part in the exact middle I
can’t see but the rest, each eye sees its own picture. Cool huh. I could even see his smelly breath
floating in the air. Poor guy. Must be sick.

Anyway, he made a noise and I figured he wanted me to move. I began to walk. He made the noise
again. I am a little bit stiff so I needed to wiggle and shake to get the blood moving. This time he
made another noise and kicked me. I wanted to do what he asked so I began to lope. I liked it and
began to get with it when he jerked those reins up into the air half pulling my head off. Wow! I AM
confused! I wanted to do the right thing but just didn’t understand what he was trying to tell me. We
started up again this time he held the reins really tightly. I pulled my jaw forward trying to tell him
“TOO tight” but he didn’t give an inch. Then I dropped my head real low for some relief. That
didn’t work either. By now I am back to feeling violated.
It isn’t this way in the herd. When one of us wants something we take it. If we get an argument about
it the stronger one bites or kicks, the weaker one gives up. It’s simple and basic.
So I began to think, “how do I get away from this mess?”…I guess I was a little distracted when….
God I don’t know what happened, I swear….maybe it was a cat or the wind but whatever it was I
SAW SOMETHING and it scared the wits out of me. I had to run. It was just a few seconds until I
realized it was nothing. The next thing I know he isn’t on my back anymore. My mouth tastes salty,
bloody. And I can’t move! I’m standing on my rein and I can’t move!

I’m back in my pen again. They have left. Nice enough people I guess. I’m thinking about the whole
scene. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t have a bad attitude when the day started. I was just “me”! Is there
something WRONG with me? I wish I could understand people.

Odom’s Mountain Horse Ranch endeavors in helping horses to understand humans. Success is possible due to
the fact that the mountain horses of Kentucky are especially inclined to learn and retain their lessons. When you
enter the world of horses, especially gaited horses, life is fuller and more satisfying when you “speak the
language." The ultimate horse for all riders is now here in California.

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