But the heat brings grief and misery to my animals, too. Poor Jelly is mostly black and even when she's in the shade, she gets hot very quickly and soon starts baying, "Moooooom! Let me iiiiiiiiiin!" I turn on the ceiling fans for her and she conks out on the sofa to snooze the hot day away. Poor Jingle the mini donk tends to collect flies on her skinny little legs so I have some wraps I fashioned for her to keep them away. She doesn't sweat the way Split does. She protects herself by scratching out a dust pile with her sharp hooves in the paddock and then she gets down and rolls in it. The dirt protects her body from the fly bites - pretty much. Split, on the other hand, is totally traumatized by flies. He sees them as his deadliest enemy and even when painted with fly spray, he will twitch and kick and swish his tail and bite at himself. Sometimes, he'll even come flying in from the pasture 5 minutes after being let out, whinnying, "HEEEEEELP!" Usually I take pity on him and toss him some hay inside the nice, cool barn.
Saturday the bugs seemed particularly ravenous and as I started to open the gate to let the horses out, Split was biting at his left flank and trying to reach under his leg. He stomped his foot hard and twitched and bit at himself. I could see a huge horse fly biting at his belly and tried to shoo it away but it was very persistent. I finally just opened the gate and Split took a few steps and then stopped and literally stretched his left leg out behind him. He stomped, he turned and bit under his leg again and snaked his head around. Danged fly! My husband had asked me to check the electric tape in the pasture because he'd taken some down in order to mow out back - he wanted me to "eyeball" it to make sure he'd gotten it all back up on the posts again. Split had stopped to graze so I just moseyed past him - as I've done hundreds of times - and continued out into the pasture. A few seconds later, seemingly out of nowhere, he blew past me, bucking and kicking out at me!!!! I was stunned and angry and let out a, "HEY! Don't you EVER kick at me!" This was highly unusual and I was offended! I was pissed off! Split wasn't listening. He was too busy running in a circle, snaking and shaking his head - yikes! And then he stopped and began frantically biting under his leg again. Aha. It was the flies.....It wasn't about me at all. I could see several large horse flies attached to his underbelly, near his sheath and I reckon I wouldn't like that either!! I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And clearly no kick had even come near me but it had startled me to see that left hind coming out in my direction and I took it as a personal insult. I walked over to Split and skritched his withers and reached under to shoo the flies away. He was grateful and nuzzled me. I apologized - several times.
How many times, I asked myself later, have I been guilty of punishing an animal for what I perceived as a personal insult when the animal was simply reacting to stress or anxiety or pain in the only way they knew how? It didn't have anything to do with me personally (unless I unknowingly inflicted the pain!) but I took it that way. I would get angry and blame the animal and immediately shut off any effective communication between us. Split taught me an important lesson on Saturday: IT'S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU, SILLY HUMAN. Did he make a mistake by kicking out in my direction, thereby placing me in danger? Well, I don't know about that. He was in pain. He was trying to get away from it. I'm not sure he even realized I was standing there at that point. Sometimes accidents are just that.......accidents. But I like to think that Split knew exactly where he was when he kicked out - he knew he wasn't going to harm me. He never has.....never will intentionally. My husband told a friend just yesterday, "That pony doesn't have a malicious bone in his body." Sigh.........yeah, it's not always about me. Silly human.
I always look for a quote to stick here or there in my blog and today I found one that I really like but it has nothing to do with the blog. It just made me laugh and think, "Hmmm......If ol Frank were only alive today........" I think I may be one of those "fools."
- "I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters."
- - Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)