Which is worse…Rebel or Rae?

Rae is the manager (well, the distaff half of the team) of the stable I hang around.

She’s a bit odd. At times, she’ll completely ignore me. I don’t care, in fact, I’d rather she ignored me than ‘advise’ me.  But I’ve come to realize that whenever I say something about  ‘my’ horse,or horses in general, she pops off with “You need to take lessons!”

I don’t know if she’s shilling for her official staff trainer, Tonia, or if she’s merely stupid. Because it doesn’t matter what the subject may be…thrush in a hoof, for instance, and how to get rid of it..if I say something, she says “You need to take lessons!”

I’ve had it. Next time she pops off with that, I’m going to ask her pointedly, Why do you say that to me and me only? and ride that bronc from there. She’ll probably come up with some nonsense, but it’s really because she’s exceedingly biased against English riding/riders.

She makes it obvious: she despises English riding. I’m certain that, given her druthers, the barn would be western ONLY. But she can’t do that. The owner rides his show horses English. Rae is merely the manager.

She doesn’t want to admit that the English/dressage queens in the barn are pretty much the dominant style in the barn…meaning there are more dressage riders, English riders, etc,. Tonia, the Western Equitation trainer, doesn’t own a horse and pays NOTHING in the way of board. That is for the boarders, most of them English riders, to do. Rae saves her anti English gossip for other western riders. She is apparently unaware how far her voice carries (or, the thought strikes me, trying to be heard by english riders, hoping to incite an argument). She’s not shy relating her bias when she’s talking to what she assumes is “her type of rider.”
Maybe this is why she insists I “need to take lessons”? The unspoken implication being “western equitation lessons from Tonia”.

I leased a western equitation horse there (for three months). I suppose she believes that I’m really a western rider in Dressage drag, and I’m riding dressage because I don’t know how to ride western equitation.

Well, she’s right. I leased Hank because I’d been out of horses for a long time and wanted something gentle and easy to see if I was ready to ease back in. I never rode Hank in a saddle. I rode bareback. (that’s when she began the “you need to take lessons” ) I would think that someone who can ride bareback (I’m a better bareback rider than a saddle rider, honestly) wouldn’t NEED lessons.

I don’t ride western, but it’s not because I don’t know how. I just don’t care for western, especially western equitation. I can only watch Tonia ‘teaching’ her WE students for a few moments. It’s such a fruitless, frustrating and, in my opinion, cruel thing to do to a horse.  I can’t bear to watch the tail wringing, teeth grinding, peanut rolling, bunny hopping horses “loping”.  I’ve never seen such misery under saddle, and that’s including having watched big lick Tennessee Walkers perform. At least the blocked and blistered Tennessee Walkers are allowed to go faster than a turtle’s pace.

But Rae thinks that’s just the shitz.  When she doesn’t think you’re listening, she badmouths english and dressage horses.  They’re hot. They’re unmannered. They’re too fast. They’re too independent.

If it’s Western, it’s holy. Western trained horses, especially western equitation horses, are incapable of meanness, of anything but docile and submissive absolute obedience.

Even when the horse tries to hurt her Mexican barn hands.

Even when the horse charges and knocks a person down.

Even when the horse kills.

Rebel was in his paddock yesterday.

The barn cat’s newest litter of kittens are out and about. They’re about 12 weeks old…old enough to be autonomous, to be into everything, to be poker tailed, skitterkitty, rambunctiously, courageously and curiously cute.

One kitten was crossing Rebel’s paddock. I don’t know why, other than it’s the closest one to the barn.

The kitten said nothing to Rebel. It was minding it’s own kitten business, on a mission somewhere in the grand, big world. Rebel was awake, aware, standing in the sunshine.

The kitten crossed right behind Rebel.

Without warning, without even pinning an ear, Rebel lashed out with one hind hoof. The kitten went flying. It went, oh, thirty feet.

It was dead on landing.

Rebel never turned a hair. His hind leg was the only thing that had moved. He showed no emotion other than, possibly, that was cool.

Several of us, me included, saw the whole thing. We, of course, freaked. One of us went into the paddock to get the kitten, and Rebel was friendly, open, thinking there was a treat coming from her.

It was as if nothing had happened, other than “hmmm, let me see how far these things can fly.”

Now of course, this is an animal we’re talking about, a creature that can’t be held responsible for something like killing a kitten. Kittens die every day.

Just not very often by being purposely kicked by a horse.

Rae came over to see what all the commotion was about. She looked at the dead kitten and at first, refused to believe Rebel had killed it. But it’s pretty hard to argue with five, slightly freaked out, excited women who all saw the same thing, one still holding a still warm but very dead kitten.

Rae shrugged and said, “he didn’t mean it.”

That’s when I realized that nothing would happen to Rebel. Me…I would have been on the phone telling Julie, “you are invited to remove your horse from my premises, starting now.” This horse tried to squish Jorge. This horse charged and tried to hurt Tonia. This horse killed a kitten for no reason other than it could.

If Rebel had been an English horse, the kitten would still be alive. Tonia wouldn’t be bruised from being knocked off a round pen wall. The moment Jorge reported that an English ridden Rebel had hurt him, Rae would have kicked the horse off the property right now.

But Western Horses are ‘gentle’. Despite the testimony of five women and a dead kitten, Rae really, really can’t believe that a horse ridden Western is capable of hurting anyone or thing.

I look at horses in a slightly different light now. I don’t believe Raven, or any of my other equine friends, would kick me…but now, I don’t know.  I’ve had horses try to kick me, but they’ve always told me that in no uncertain terms. I haven’t been kicked because I believe them when they tell me they’re going to kick. I must admit it’s not been very often, but it HAS happened. And I know of people who’ve been kicked by accident. Dr. Mike had his leg broken in three places when  a horse he was putting down kicked out. So it’s not a case of, is a horse capable or incapable of kicking someone? It’s not that.

It’s seeing a horse make a decision on the spur of the moment and kick something alive, just for the hell of it.

I thought only people were capable of such calculated actions. Now I know different.

Believe me, I’m staying far away from Rebel. If he kicks anyone, I hope it’s Rae.


About subodai213

Retired U.N.C.L.E agent. Living in Laurasia.
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