I wish I had a photo of the long fuzzy face that begged for a segment of my satsuma on New Year’s Eve. (The photo here will have to do … it’s a close facsimile thereof … )
It was the way Bear’s big, baby browns rolled back in his head while his nostrils twitched and fluttered, fascinated and amused by the intriguing new citrus scent that flooded his senses, that tickled me. He’s normally a ham, but this was ridiculous … and really, really cute.
I was standing in front of his stall, holding in my hand a freshly peeled satsuma for my own consumption when Bear caught a whiff of its fruity fragrance. He finished his mouthful of hay and, leaning against the lead shank strung across the open doorway as a loose barrier between him and me, telescoped his neck and extended his muzzle as far as it would go toward my hand. He took a deeper sniff. His top lip curled back approvingly. His long eyelashes fluttered their charm. Through his nostrils he snorted.
That was the cue. Bear wanted a piece of my orange.
Now, I’m not the kind of owner/mother to indulge my horse with much beyond the regular diet. He’s a dietarily low maintenance guy who gets his supplements, grain, hay, an apple, carrots and a stud muffin every day. I’ve recently introduced sugar cubes as a reward during training, but that’s about it. I do know people who feed bananas to their horses occasionally; chocolate cake on birthdays. But I’m just not into that. So, when Bear showed a genuine interest in my satsuma I wrestled with myself a bit about whether or not I even wanted to go there.
But he was so cute. And it was New Year’s Eve. And I’m adopting a new, more open attitude toward life so … I caved.
There was not even the slightest hesitation on Bear’s part when I offered him a piece of the juicy fruit. He pinched the tiny orange segment gently between his lips and lifted it carefully from my hand. Then he expertly tucked it back into his mouth and began to chew, gingerly, as if savouring every last squirt of citrus.
I could see by the glazed-over look in his eye the pleasure he was taking from this new sensate experience. And, after swallowing he was instantly back for more.
The whole experience gave me the giggles, and every day since then Bear’s had his own satsuma.
Oh dear … what have I started???
Nurture what you love …