Hey Boo-Boo!

So, Mr. Bear has a new nickname … Boo-Boo.

It’s spring. The weather is changeable. Bear and Sam romp roughly in the paddock and, as with any skirmish in the fields there are the inevitable boo-boos. Bear now has his share.

I’m not usually at the barn when the boys are turned out in the morning. Still, I can well imagine the kicks and bucks and snorts and squeals and head-twirling, tail-wringing, teeth-baring advance and retreat that goes on. It’s particularly animated, apparently, if a turkey vulture or some other unidentified (flying) object is spotted wandering at any distance away in the adjacent hay field. Ah, the danger that lurks …

In fact, one of my own more graphic experiences with their manic response to irrelevant stimuli came one day last summer when I entered the paddock to fetch Bear. I started walking to where he was grazing, of course at the very far end of their sizeable field, and was no more than 20 steps in from the gate when I-don’t-know-what spooked the hairy pair causing them to bolt — bucking and snorting and galloping at high velocity in mesmerizing whirling zig zags back and forth across the paddock in front of me.

It’s difficult to describe how it feels to see two 1,200 lb equine out-of-control torpedoes barrelling down on you. (It’s possible they were racing to see who could get to me first, or simply entertaining me … or themselves … or all three … .)

Yelling “Whoa, boys!” at the top of my lungs was about all I could do while standing my ground and acting like everything was normal.

Of course, I knew they weren’t going to run into me and, indeed, they came to a dead stop within 20 feet of my adrenalin-beseiged position. They then sidled their way over to me as if nothing had happened and blew inquiringly into my hands in search of their much-adored carrots.

These are creatures that live in the moment … And I must too.

So, getting back to Boo-Boo.

Imagine that kind of energy directed into horse play. There are bound to be a few boo-boos.

Sam, being the “in-your-face” kind of horse he is, has a knack for leaving dental imprints on my horse’s neck and face. Poor Bear! And then one day this week I entered the barn and out of nowhere greeted him with “Hey, Boo-Boo!”

This made me chuckle.

Why?

Well, it brought back memories. Memories of when I was a little girl who loved Hanna-Barbera cartoons, particularly the adventures of Yogi Bear and his sidekick, Boo-Boo. Remember Jellystone Park?

In case you aren’t familiar with these two whimsical characters, here’s an episode (seven minutes in length), just for fun. Why not grab a drink and a biscuit and share a moment of my childhood …

 “Genial Genie”

As well, my most treasured stuffed animal was a Boo-Boo bear. He proved a great comfort to me at times of great personal upheaval and family crisis. I was moved around a lot in my early years and Boo-Boo went everywhere with me. I hugged him until he was threadbare and optically-challenged. His life as my security blanket came to a sad and abrupt end when I was about 10 years old, courtesy of the family dog.

Boo-Boo was laid to rest. I was devastated. 😦

Still, life goes on and here I am, decades later, recalling something I hadn’t thought of for ages simply because my beautiful horse named “Bear” has sustained a few boo-boos!

Funny, that.

Now, it wouldn’t do to leave you with the impression that Bear doesn’t stick up for himself. On the contrary …

Last week after a ride I put Bear into his paddock for some turnout time. Sam was already there. As usual, after I’ve closed the gate I pulled up clumps of long, luscious grass, complete with dandelions, that Bear can’t reach and gave it to him through the fence as a special treat. Usually if Sam’s in the vicinity I’ll give him some too, but on this occasion he was off grazing in the distance. My attention was solely on Bear and he was lapping it up.

When Sam caught sight of our one-on-one time he trotted up and shoved his way in on the action. This precipitated an unexpected response in Bear. He pinned his ears, spun on his back heels and aggressively lunged at Sam with teeth bared to chase him away. He wanted the grass (and me 🙂 ) all to himself.

The boys do have a friendly rivalry, and most of the time they just hang out eating grass, but occasionally they will have a set-to to re-establish boundaries. Sam can be pushy, but Bear can certainly hold his own. There are welt marks on Sam’s back to prove it.

All this leads me to say that none of us get through life without the odd small skirmish and boo-boo. We live in a society that seems to want to protect us and, more specifically, our children, from everything that builds character, fortitude, faith, et al, lest we get hurt.

Speaking as a survivor, the fact is if we don’t learn from an early age how to manage life’s small skirmishes, how will we ever cope with the larger personal battles we must all face as we get older?

To prevent Bear from getting boo-boos I’d have to ask the barn owners to separate him from Sam. This would not be fair, nor would it be constructive. My horse is a very social creature and needs the stimulation of companionship or he gets lonely and anxious. Better that he should live with a few physical boo-boos than suffer the anguish of separation.

Boo-boo or no boo-boo, Bear is still the most beautiful horse in the world to me.

Our boo-boos, physical or otherwise, serve as markers reminding us of what we’ve tackled and how we’ve survived. They represent the stories that give us character and the moments that show us how to thrive if we learn their lessons well.

And, if we’re lucky, there’ll be someone who really cares standing by the gate with carrots in one hand and a jar of salve in the other prepared to help us along the way.

*

This has been a bit of a long meander. I hope it’s taken you somewhere worthwhile.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012 

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