The Dirt Devil

Bear is a handsome horse, but like all pretty boys he has a dark side.

Now I know I’ve talked about this sort of thing before, but this is a special moment I just feel I have to share …

Wednesdays are a day off for Bear and I. No training, just some down time and me showing up to groom and fuss over the lad as I do every day, regardless of whether I ride him or not.

Yesterday I arrived, as usual, about noon. Bear was out in his paddock with Sam, his erstwhile buddy, grazing and minding his own business when I approached the fence. Camera in hand, I hoped to capture a few images of him happily grazing with the backdrop of whatever fall colours remained in the woods yonder. The leaves have disappeared quickly this year, so there really wasn’t much to work with, but I thought at least I’d try.

Sam came over and made it his business to interfere with my intentions. Jealousy, I think, is a part of his problem. He knows I dote on his pasture mate and he wants a piece.

I shooed him out of the way as Bear started to wander up from the other end of the paddock. His was a quiet, purposeful saunter in the mid-day sun to where I was standing, his hope that I would reward him with a carrot.

Sadly, I had not yet been in the barn and had no carrots on me.

After having chased Sam away Bear met me at the fence and waited for an impatient second, nudging my arm with his nose to receive the much anticipated carrot.

“Sorry, Bear, I don’t have any on me right now.”

Annoyed, as I imagined him to be, he turned and walked purposefully away. In other words, he gave me the bum’s rush.

“Huh!” I thought, “What a strange thing for him to do.”

Feeling slightly put out I watched with amazement at what unfolded next.

He stopped in the middle of his coveted mud hole, dropped to his knees and rolled … and rolled … and rolled. Dumbfounded, I poised the camera and clicked away to capture the moment.

Like some bodyguard minding his celebrity client, Sam continued to interfere with me. Bear continued to roll. I tried to shoo Sam away. He wouldn’t move. Meanwhile, Bear continued his evil frolic in the devil’s playground until he was well and truly covered in dirt.

When he was done he lurched to his feet and had a good shake.

He sauntered back to me and, with a look of supreme self-satisfaction, nudged my arm again as if to say, “Have fun grooming. Now, where’s my carrot?”

Do you think I spoil him?

Nurture what you love …

Horse Mom


Β©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

12 thoughts on “The Dirt Devil

  1. LOL! Bear definitely has a sense of humor! He was telling you in no uncertain terms what he thought of your no-carrot attitude. πŸ™‚ Fun post! I love Bear but I feel kinda sorry for Sam.

    • Yeah, Bear is quite the character. Glad you liked the story. … However, don’t feel sorry for Sam. He does okay by me. Every time I get Bear from the paddock I bring a carrot for both of them. Sam likes attention, though, and can be pushy about it. I’m not fond of that. Bear, as alpha in that two-horse herd, has no problem putting him in his place when I’m around. πŸ˜‰

  2. I really think that carrots should be in your pocket before you approach, and for both, why NOT spoil them?

    Last weekend I rode my bike to Ryerss Farm for Aged Equines in Pottstown, PA. (Planning on a post one day.) I tried to volunteer but really they want people to adopt these beautiful creatures. I was so moved. Some of them were abused or just discarded . One had a profound neurological problem. I really wish I could adopt one.

    • Don’t worry, they’re both quite spoiled. If I don’t have a carrot with me I usually pull grass from my side of the fence and feed it to them. πŸ˜‰

      There are many horse rescues looking for volunteers, donations and adoption opportunities. How lovely of you to visit and offer your time to these old horses. I hope you’ll return again. Horses used to human contact love the attention and yearn for it, and building trust with an animal that has been abused is an incredibly powerful and rewarding experience. … Just love them. Help any way you can. … I do my bit by ensuring Bear is loved and cared. If I’m ever in a position to adopt a rescue horse or two, I’ll do it with a glad heart. There are so many abused, neglected and abandoned horses out there who need some love. … Do what you can. Be a regular visitor and work your way in there. The horses will love you for it. I look forward to reading your story. God bless you for caring …

      • I do. I used to know much more when I rode when I was in my teens. Tell me please Dorothy, where does a horse liked to be scratched or touched the best? The ears? As some were abused I was hesitant to touch too much..

      • It’s a good question and the answer is it depends on the horse. If a horse was abused about the face they won’t want you to go there, that’s why I usually recommend scratching or patting the neck ~ up around the withers is good, as well as the top line of the mane. That’s where horses scratch and groom each other quite contentedly as on their own they cannot reach that area. Once you have gained the confidence of a horse you might then scratch behind the ears, but with abused horses especially it pays to be cautious. Work slowly. Have patience. Always approach a horse from the side and go towards the neck (out of the way of their hind legs). With their eyes set on the sides of their head they have a better chance of seeing you than if you approach from the front. As horses are always reading and responding to our body language it is important to be self-aware at all times. A good book to read is “Horses Don’t Lie” by Canadian horse trainer, Chris Irwin. ( He’s worked with a lot of abused horses (I’ve trained with him and watched him magically transform, using horse-friendly methods, horribly abused horses) and shares tremendous insight on how we can relate better to our equine friends by growing in our own self-awareness and translating that into (body) language they understand. I have used his methods with Bear and am really happy with the results. … Whatever you end up doing with these horses, enjoy they journey. They will love you for it.

      • Thank you so much! Most of these lovely creatures pushed their faces right up to me or my camera. They were all stalled so the hind legs were not an issue. I was worried about rampant biting. None of them did and the ones that were clearly upset I did not approach. I hope they let me help but I do believe that want buyers and most likely have enough volunteers . We shall see. Hard work is good for me and also good for them.

  3. I, too, had the opportunity to provide TLC to neglected horses. The eagerness with which they greeted me proved more than ample reward. The connection between horses and humans is amazing! I appreciate your educational response offered in the comments, Dorothy. Great advice.

  4. I am looking for opportunities in my area to volunteer with neglected/abused horses, as well. Thank you for posting your tips and great information; it’s been years (and years) since I’ve been around horses. Thank you, too, for stopping by my blog. I’ll look up the Irwin book! grazie,

    • You are to be commended for wanting to work with downtrodden horses. It’s a sad time in the equestrian world with the general economy having taken its toll and many horses having been abandoned. And, sadly, abuse is all too common among the ignorant who take on ownership of a horse without realizing the responsibility involved and without having the appropriate skills and proper informed guidance in place to ensure the horse is receiving the care it needs. Be mindful as you spend time with these horses and seek appropriate guidance. Brush up on your skills ~ read; watch videos; get instruction. The primary concerns are the horses’ welfare and your safety. The more informed you are going in the more help you can be to these horses and the better able you will be to take care of yourself. And if in doubt about anything … ASK!!! There are no stupid questions when it comes to working with horses ~ only stupid people who don’t ask them and then get into trouble. πŸ˜‰ Horses know when we’ve done our homework. I do my best not to disappoint them. … All the best and have fun! Nurture what you love … Dorothy πŸ™‚

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