Thursday, September 17, 2009

Noble Time

Yesterday, since my horses had the farrier, I didn't ride or work Maisie and Dawn. Instead, I just hung out at the barn at bring-in and feeding time, spending some time with the horses. I took a plastic chair from outside and sat with my back against Noble's stall guard - he supervises p.m. feeding with his head in the aisle. He stood with his chest almost against the back of my head, with his head and neck sticking out of the stall over me. I could easily reach to rub his neck and the underside of his head, which he enjoyed. I spent some time with my head leaning back against his chest. Have you ever really looked at the underside of a horse's jaw? It's really amazing - long jawbones on either side and then the lovely, soft, pointed area at the end before the mouth - I expect that soft, sensitive area helps them feel things as they are grazing. The junction in Noble between the jawbones and the soft lower area was an exactly straight line across, and he also has two bony knobs on his jawbones just before the line. (I checked Maisie, and she has the bony knobs, too, but they are smaller, and her line isn't perfectly straight - it has a little curve to it.)

I really value my time with Noble - he's 29 and although he's in very good health I won't have him forever. I give him a grooming every morning just before I turn him out. He was my first horse as an adult when I got back into horses, and I couldn't have picked a better horse. He was trained in lower-level dressage, and was wonderful to ride - although not comfortable. But it's his character that I really value. He can be a bit nervous, but he's always the complete gentleman. Even when he's worried, or even flat out scared, he's always responsive and aware of where you are. He even seems to sense when he might step on your foot and makes sure that he doesn't. I think he's beautiful and wise. Here's one of my favorite photos of him, which shows his kind face and cute curved comma ears:

14 comments:

  1. Treasure all those lovely moments with Noble - time passes too quickly!

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  2. I love hearing about Noble. He just sounds like such a beautiful soul and so gentle. He reminds me of the horse I leased in high school (my "first" horse). He had such dignity and charm; also not a comfortable ride, but I learned so much from him!

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  3. You have such a wonderful way with words Kate! And your observations help me to notice things about my own horses. Thank you!

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  4. WOOOW!! That horse is 29? He looks fantastic.
    I ahev indeed spent some time under my hose peering up at her jaw from below. It is amazing. Since she's a Paint, the color pattern under there is so beautiful--it's a shame its all tucked away where no one but me gets to see!

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  5. Under my hose? What the heck is wrong with me? Under my horse! Under my horse!!!
    hah!

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  6. I really treasure the old ones. There is not a day that goes by when I don't think of my old guy I lost last year. Nobel looks like such a nice guy and he is lucky to have such a wonderful retirement.

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  7. Noble is a beautiful horse with gentle eyes and I'm sure a kind soul. You're right to spend as much time with him as you can, time does pass swiftly when it comes to our old friends.

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  8. You are lucky to still have him with you and he looks great. I remember that picture of him when you posted it a few months ago. He is a real cutie and does have most excellent ears!

    I have found that once they are in their early 20's it is anybody's guess as to how much time you have with them. Maybe 10 more years but maybe not even one more year. Sometimes the ones you don't expect to live forever manage to do so and the ones that you would expect to go well into their 30's don't.

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  9. What a sweet man. Yes, the underside of the horse's jaw is really neat...but it can also be really painful! I'd rather have my toes stepped on than have those sharp hard bones come down on top of my head! You know what I mean? When your horses tosses his head and clubs you over the head in the process...and you feel like you might pass out... lol ... I love watching the soft skin above their eyes as they chew, the way it bulges in and out....or watching the ripple along the underside of their neck when they drink.

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  10. I do love his ears. Gosh. I wonder if I'm becoming an ear woman. Wouldn't that be odd?

    He sounds just wonderful and still looks fit for adventure.

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  11. Thank you again for some lovely posts, Kate - I am trying to catch up as it has been a busy week.

    Congratulations on your new family member, he really looks like a Sweet Simon!

    I especially liked your post about progress.
    I believe it is easier to step aside from all expectations on "progress" as we get older (and wiser?), and instead find our own way to happiness together with our horses, whatever path that might be.

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  12. Kate,
    Noble is quite noble looking in that photo! Fun.... love the red barn in the background too. I just rode Maduro and it was quite interesting. Seems he was telling me that he did not want to canter in the round pen today. Instead of pushing him when no one was around we just spent time bonding more. I think some days are just good for hanging out together. I really have not done that with him as much. He's not a comfortable ride either but I love his disposition which more than makes up for it. One hour with him just practicing walk/trot and walking through a mud puddle I made in the round pen was fun....then he got cut up apples for a treat....we're not into treat feeding but the trainer was feeding him peppermints after each ride! Have a great evening! It's beautiful here! We're going to see Slick at the training facility to see how things are going.

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  13. What a sweetie. I love the wisdom you feel when you are around and old horse. Something special seems to flow from them about how the world really works.

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  14. Sweet, sweet, Noble. What a perfect name for such a wise old man. He is so beautiful. His ears are the absolute best.

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