For the first time in my adult life, I have two horses. Of course this was not planned, and I’ve already gone into some detail about how mushy it makes me feel to see Foster’s sweet snoot over the door when I get to the barn. He’s still my heart horse, and just sitting in his stall and letting him lick my hands and nibble my hat does more to settle my soul than the world’s best bottle of Malbec.
Recently, an interesting side-effect of Foster coming back into my life has been how it’s effected Jack. Jack does not trend on the cuddly side, instead the more obvious opinions he shares with me are when I’m annoying him, by shoving me with his head whenever I get in reach. But since Foster has arrived at the barn, I’ve noticed Jack changing his tune a bit.
Often times, I get to the barn, and walk straight back to Jack with just a quick pat on the nose for Foster (longer snuggles are reserved for after my ride), and I routinely say hello to Jack Jack and go to get my grooming kit from the tack room. When he hears my voice, Foster will stick his fave over the gate and whicker softly to me, looking very expectantly at me from the other end of the barn (Jack and Foster are many many stalls apart). Of course this melts my heart and (since he has my number, obviously) I go give him a quick treat and return to Jack.
Jack must be a smart cookie observing all this, because now, when I go into the tack room, I’ve heard him whicker to me from the crossties.
Oh my heart.
Maybe it’s all treat related, but he’s also just seemed happier during our grooming sessions and will actually turn to me and not choose to give me a good shove, instead seeming to prefer a good head scratch while mostly closing his eyes. It’s ah-dorable.
I’ve also started teaching Jack to smile, and he is a super quick study. I also think this has helped improve our relationship, because it establishes a currency of positive reinforcement. I’ve just got to work on him not raising his head so much, since he’s so tall to begin with.
But despite his picking up on some of Foster’s cuter habits, Jack is not a fan of his painted brother. Riding together he makes exceptionally grumpy faces when Foster comes within range, making it clear to all that Foster is offensive to him in every way.
And then last night, Jack insisted on stopping at Foster’s stall to say hello. Foster was all ‘uh, thought you hated me bro’ and then they commenced in some mutual grooming that ended in a big squeal and my pulling Jack off to his stall. But not before I snagged a whole bunch of cute photos.
I was thinking about how nice it would be if these two got along and day dreaming of all the cute photos of them together, when I walked Jack back by Foster’s stall on our way to the ring, and Foster promptly made the most pissed-off-i-hate-you face ever. Coming from Foster, that is a face I have seldom seen before. Like WTF, Foster- who knew that was inside of you?
Sigh. Maybe one day they’ll love each other.