Friday, September 25, 2009

does your horse have a job?

I was reading something earlier that made me want to ask: for those of you who live with horses, do they have "jobs"?

If so, how important is that job? What happens if the horse can no longer do it?

It occurred to me as I was reading that my definition of job is very fluid and flexible.

If a horse can't do its "job" for whatever reason, I just find something else it *can* do. Or maybe all my horses have a multitude of jobs, so if one can't be done, it's not such a big deal.

In my mind, simple companionship is a fine and respectable job. Companionship for me AND for the other horses.

I hear horses being referred to as "pasture puffs" a lot. Which intrigues me, because if we as humans can't work because of physical issues or age we certainly don't refer to ourselves that way.

But I guess society does tend to value people for how much they can earn, so from that angle it's a similar phenomenon.

I'm still pondering this.


Greta said...

Billie, Your horse has a job. Me! We'll talk about it soon.

billie said...

LOL, Greta!

I'm thrilled. I had hoped the equine work might appeal to you. :)

For any readers shaking heads in confusion - I work with writers (and creators of all kinds) and the horses have proven themselves to be amazingly helpful in helping us clear the channels, find new material, and get past little (or big) stuck places in the creative process.

I am just waiting for the day when I (or someone) thank(s) one of my talented herd members in an acknowledgments page!

Grey Horse Matters said...

All of our horses have jobs whether they can be ridden or not. One example is Sammi, he's really not in much training but he is Mellon's mini- me and sidekick and keeps him calm. Even Sweetie has a job, she and Mellon groom each morning and that also keeps him happy. Donnie is everyone's friend as is Nate etc... the list goes on.

So even if every horse cannot be ridden they are all an integral part of the herd.

Dougie Donk said...

Dennis & Flynn do hacks, lessons, cross-country & showjumping competitions (I don't do dressage!), while Tammy & Dougs are what we call "field ornaments"

All of that is inconsequential - their most important job is in grounding me & providing a sympathetic ear when I feel sorry for myself. Nothing brings me back to Planet Earth quite as quickly as a nose in the back & an "Oi! It's dinner time!" message. How can that possibly be of no value? their love is certainly cheaper than a therapist would be & all that yard work keeps me fit & healthy-looking too :))

billie said...

Arlene, I loved reading about your horses and the special roles they fill for one another.

It's particularly sweet to hear about Sammi and Sweetie's new roles - for anyone who doesn't know, they were rescued from a situation that was truly grim and rehabbed to run with their new herd. (not to mention hanging out in riding arenas! - go read Grey Horse Matters to learn more...)

billie said...

I keep checking for Dougie Donk's blog but thus far I am being disappointed... :)

I loved reading that of all the things your horses do, they also have very important jobs right at home.

In Scotland! I'm so curious to know more about your farm and equines. Don't you want to do a guest blog about them here?

ponymaid said...

Billie, I am head keeper at this loony bin. A thankless job, but someone must do it. I am shocked to hear Dougie's human refer to him as a field ornament! Dougie himself has told he is the head keeper at his own yard and of course we know donkeys never lie...I too would love to read more of Dougie's exploits in that beautiful part of the world. His human is a rather amazing photographer is I do say so.

billie said...

I think we need to hear from Dougie on this matter!!!

Sheaffer, we do not envy you your position there. I cannot imagine the tribulations of managing TJ, the woman, Doc, and Molly, and while TJ has moved back to Primrose, and Jack is a charming gentleman we all love, it does sound like he is enjoying a quite rowdy second donkeyhood at the moment. I'm sure it can't be easy for your cultured and sensitive soul to have so many... how shall we tactfully say it? rough and tumble characters to keep in line.

Molly is not quite rough and tumble in demeanor but I would bet she throws her weight around when needed. :0

Dougie Donk said...

Golly! A guest blog? I'm not sure my technical skills are quite up to that, but Dougie & the rest of the herd would certainly love the attention.

If you can point me towards "An Idiot's Guide on Blogging", then I will certainly give it a go..... might not be much more than piccies, but hey! Everyone has to start somewhere.

billie said...

Send me your email in a comment, Dougie Donk's mom (I won't publish it here!) and I'll send you my email so you can send your text/photos. I can do the rest.


Michelle said...

Intriguing, thinking about horse jobs..... I guess I'd always considered my family's horses' jobs as their show careers and those that were retired as such. But you're inspiring me to think in a more open minded sense...why can't a valid job be a companion, for me or another horse? I like this; thank you for encouraging me to consider other possibilities. (Although I'm not sure Tiny cares WHAT I call her, as long as it's not late for dinner!) =)

billie said...

Michelle, I suspect you're right - it's not so much that they care what they're called, but opening the mind to all the wonderful things they already offer, and naming them for ourselves, probably does have an impact on the decisions we make for our horses.

I'm not really trying to change the world with this post - but when I read things that make it sound like a horse with a stiff leg or a tender hoof is suddenly useless because he/she can't "perform," I want to jump up and down and point out how many other unnamed jobs that horse can do - and likely already does! Naming them makes us notice them more, and appreciate them.

billie said...

And... Dougie is now in communications with me, so watch for upcoming "news from Scotland" guest posts! Yay!