Being Black Beauty

    The Near Side - Being Black Beauty
    With a face like this, who could blame the fillies for falling in love? Photo by Liz Moyer.

    So, my boy Zephyr may have a little bit of a “girl problem.”

    He’s been pastured mostly with geldings during the years I’ve owned him. Occasionally a nice filly or mare will share a pasture with him … he seems intrigued by them, but not overcome with emotion.

    Until recently, that is.

    One day the owner of the farm where I board brought home a big, gorgeous warmblood mare named Addy as a date for the farm’s resident warmblood stallion, who is also very handsome and lovely. For whatever reason–whether her hormones and newly “delicate” condition, or just some cosmic star-crossing–Addy decided Zephyr was her new boyfriend. And Zephyr decided Addy was his first and only love.

    The two of them were spotted guarding each other while the other slept, and reportedly “curled up together like kittens” in the sandy corner. Whenever I’d go catch Zephyr, I’d just look for Addy’s towering presence (since Zephyr is hard to tell apart from the other chestnut Thoroughbred in his field). Without fail, month after month, Zephyr would be standing hip-to-hip with Addy. They would look sad when I took him away, but both would behave until it was time to reunite. For some reason it didn’t seem to work in reverse, though. When Addy was taken away periodically for her baby exams, she would call for Zephyr and he would call back.

    The recent addition of a fancy Paint pony named Gem further complicated matters. Gem is a bay beauty with a white face and one blue eye. She was shy at first, but then decided Zephyr and Addy were her new herd and stuck with them at all times. Zephyr seemed happy with his new “Big Love” status.

    The decision was made for the safety of the vet and sanity of the herd to “wean” the three amigos. I came out last night to find them in separate stalls, calling to each other – just like an actual weaning process! I’m sure they’ll be fine by later today, but I have never seen Zephyr in such an agitated state before. He was fairly well-behaved during our ride, but as soon as I dropped the reins and headed back to the barn, he started screaming for his ladies again.

    All I could think of was the lifetime bond between Black Beauty, the mare Ginger and the pony Merrylegs in Anna Sewell’s famous novel. Of course, Zephyr would be playing the role of Black Beauty in that scenario … which doesn’t really make much sense since he’s a small, rotund chestnut! But I’m sure in his mind, with the way those ladies have been treating him, he’s a tall, sleek beast these days.

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