Dawn said, "you know, sometimes I'm sorry for people" [the horses don't call us "people" but we'll use this word] - "they have so many things that aren't as good as we horses have. They have those funny eyes that only point forwards, so they can't see well to the sides or behind them - how can they see well enough to keep themselves safe? And their ears don't even move! And they're so small and weak; they can't even kick or bite or run away fast to escape. Maybe that's why they make so many noises and move so abruptly, and even yell and get angry - to make themselves look bigger so they'll stay safe? I don't know, I both feel sorry for them sometimes and other times they annoy me."
Maisie said, "and they carry around these little boxes that sometimes make strange sounds, and then they put the box to their ear and make noises to the air - what's that all about? And when they do it, it's like we're not there anymore even though we're right in front of them or they're riding us. But they're always so easily distracted - it's really hard for them to pay attention to what's going on right now - I suppose it's a little like when I go on the trail and I start thinking about dinner or about how none of the other horses are with me - it makes it hard to concentrate."
Dawn said, "and when they're distracted, which is a lot of the time, they don't listen too well to what we're trying to tell them and show them."
Maisie said, "yes, it's like when my person and I first got together - she wanted me to do some things that I had a hard time doing because I hurt, and I finally had to really yell at her to get her to pay attention - I had to buck and throw my head until she finally understood and got the dentist and chiropractor to help me - but it sure took a long time and she was really slow to get it."
Sugar said, "but sometimes people do pay attention - when I was scared and had so much trouble leading my person understood that I wasn't trying to be mean to her when I would panic and fight to get away - my last people scared me even worse when that happened so I felt that I really, really had to fight to get away. My person sent me to that other person who worked with me so I could learn to give to pressure on my halter and to move away and then move back by paying attention to my person - now we're OK. And my person works with me almost every day so I can see that it's all OK."
Dawn said, "but what about how they see? They don't notice when something is lurking, or flashing white or glittery, or moves suddenly - I worry sometimes that I can't trust the person who is with me on the trail to protect me and that's why I have to pay attention to these things - after all it's my job to protect the herd so I know what I'm doing - but my person wants me to accept their view of things, and pay attention to them, when I'm the one who knows how to jump sideways, spin or run fast to get away from danger, and they can't do any of those things. And then when I do jump, spin or run, sometimes they can't keep up with me and get left behind. But I'm learning to not worry so much about scary things - sometimes when I come up to a scary thing my person gives me a reward, and nothing bad's happened yet. I still need some convincing, but maybe my people are more trustworthy than I think."
The three mares chewed for a bit as they thought about these things, but also about how good the sun and wind felt and how wonderful the hay tasted and looked.
Finally, Maisie said, "I guess these people of ours, for all their weakness and lack of ability to see what we see, and pay attention, can learn to pay more attention to what we're saying and show us that we can trust them - we've got a lot of work to do, but it's nice to see them improve from day to day." The other mares agreed - it was a sunny day, and almost spring, and they were happy.