Friday, September 27, 2013

Kind, patient and very careful ...



Marlene Terry
Breezing through some interesting web sites, I came on the photo of an old work horse I'm sharing today.

Ever wondered what that term "work horse" means?

Long ago it referred to horses that were bred for heavy tasks, such as pulling plows and moving big loads atop wagons used for farm labor, logging, etc.  
Today the purpose of the work horse remains much the same, but now it's mostly for show, competition and entertainment.
All work horse breeds also share the common traits of strength, patience and having a docile, long-suffering temperament.
... I know this for sure because of Blanche, the old work horse that lived at my grandpa's farm.

Blanche was a big horse. Actually when I first met her she was HUGE. Standing next to her when I was 5 years old, was like looking up at the highest mountain on the earth. ... Scary to say the least.

"You want to ride her," I remember Grandpa asking that first day.
"No thanks," I yelled, happy to run away to the safety of the blacksmith shop.

My easy going grandpa didn't push or force me to become an equestrian. He was content to let it happen when and if I wanted it to. So I spent hours watching the old horse and getting to know her. She, stalwart and dependable, worked her heart out for my granddad
Blanche never once balked at any task. Even as a  child, I could see the fatigue in her face and how her legs, unsteady at the end of the day, would strain to continue the work. But she wouldn't stop ... not as long as she was needed.

My first experience atop old Blanche also included my sister.
There we were, two little girls, with me in front as the driver and my sis in back, sitting on an animal as big as an elephant with only reins for control.
Granddad said we didn't need a saddle. More importantly he told us we didn't need to be afraid. Because Blanche understood what was told to her and he (Grandpa) had instructed her to be kind, patient and very careful with his granddaughters.

"Give her a kick," Grandpa said gesturing to me. And away we went, not running or galloping, but plodding along at the pace of a snail, slowly and carefully.

"Hey this is fun," I yelled turning to see who was watching as we proceeded up a steep incline.
... That's when I noticed that with each heavy step the horse was taking, my sister was slipping ever closer to Blanche's back end

Ker plunk!

With the horse's last jump to clear a small ditch in our path, off went my sis ... hard onto the ground, ending up between Blanche's humongous hind feet.

The horse stopped immediately. And in spite of the fact that there was one screaming, flailing child below her and another inexperienced rider, who'd dropped the reins in a hurry and was grabbing and kicking all the way as I descended from the seat on top, Blanche remained steadfast and stationary.
... That is she remained stationary until Grandpa arrived at the scene, petted her, told her what a good horse she was, and then took the reins and slowly guided her from the scene.

... As I said, kind, patient and very careful ... thank goodness!

♦ Hope you'll let me share YOUR stories and photos here at my residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at nutshellstories@gmail.com.