The Rules According to Wally

    Is this not the face of a smug, aloof, egotistical horse? No wonder he has so many rules!

    During the years I rode green horses I was always aware that the colts and fillies were blank slates. If I worked with them for six months and they ended up with holes in their basic training or nasty vices, there was no one to blame but me.

    Once I transitioned into the world of buying and riding mature horses that were (allegedly) already trained, I realized things were different. I had to deal with problems and attitudes that someone else had created.

    Wally, my Paint gelding, personifies this concept. Though he had years of professional western training he also came equipped with a confrontational attitude, horrible stable manners and an outrageous ability to buck under saddle. Eventually I figured out how to get through to him, but it wasn’t easy. I had to first learn how Wally viewed the world. I had to comprehend his set of rules. Needless to say, since I am The Queen, I abolished most of them. But in the spirit of compromise, I did permit him to keep some of them. If you’re wondering what Wally’s rules are, I have them right here, in his own words:

    1. “You know those big plastic tubs you buy at Target? The ones with a rope handle on each side? I know they’re supposed to be water tubs, but they also make great Frisbees when I’m bored. So you just go ahead and keep buying them, okay?”
    2. “Enough already with the Bermuda grass pellets. I do not like them. If you continue to feed them to me, I’ll continue to spew them on the ground.”
    3. “My white markings clash with the plaid daysheet that I happen to know you bought on sale at the discount tack shop. I constantly demonstrate how much I hate it. Get a clue: It makes me look ridiculous. Dispose of it immediately.”
    4. “Every time you put fresh shavings in my stall I’m overwhelmed with the urge to pee on them. I’ve come to terms with this compulsion. Why can’t you?”
    5. “I find children to be obnoxious little pests… unless they enter my presence with offerings of fresh carrots. Then I can tolerate them. (At least until I’m done chewing.)”
    6. “When we meet people on the trail and they ask if I’m a stallion, I’d like you to respond by answering, ‘Yes.’ It bolsters my self-image. Plus it improves my chances of snagging a date with that little bay mare that lives across the street.”
    7. “I notice you spend an incredible amount of time coddling my legs, back and feet with all sorts of boots, wraps and exotic lotions. After conducting some research I’ve determined it’d be much more cost effective to install a hot tub in my paddock. Just make sure it has room for two horses. (See Rule #6).”
    8. “Stop making jokes about my fat butt and chubby jowls and I’ll stop snickering at your undying faith that someday I’ll do flying lead changes.”
    9. “I accept that in this town I’m frequently ridden past lowly beasts like pot-bellied pigs, donkeys and llamas. But I’ve got to draw the line at emus. Don’t try to convince me they’re just giant chickens. Until I can discover a reason for their existence, I shall continue to protest passing them by snorting, prancing and shaking my head. I believe you call this behavior ‘acting like an idiot’.”
    10. “Humans should spend less time bickering about politics and more time creating horse cookies.”


    Those are Wally’s rules. Have you discovered your horse’s set of rules? I’m sure Wally would love to read them. Maybe he’ll discover he has a whole herd of pals out there who share his beliefs. Of course, that could lead to trouble, because they could form a clandestine equine army and stage a revolt!

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