By the time I finally made it outside to play with my horses, the rain had stopped, the mist had lifted, and the sun was breaking through the clouds.

the sun breaking through the misty clouds

the sun breaking through the misty clouds…


The pasture was too muddy to venture, so I played a liberty game with the horses in the arena.  The sand was heavy from the rain with big puddles everywhere and left over slush.  The horses treated me with casual indifference, not really interested in moving.  I could drive them quite easily, but drawing was difficult.  Sterling was far more cooperative than Monarch.  I think he’s lonely, missing his girl who’s off to college.  At one point I got Monarch to follow my draw, but as he got close, he nipped my jacket pocket, where he expected to find a treat, and then charged off.  I tried it again, but only got another charge.  He really didn’t want to play.

Instead of getting mad at Monarch or feeling sorry for myself because my horse told me he didn’t want to play, I went into the curiosity frame, and looked at the situation from 2nd person, my horse.  “Hmmm, what might Monarch be thinking….”  For the past two months my interactions with my horses has been to feed, check water, feet, and blankets.  Monarch has stopped seeing me as his partner; I’m just the waitress.

I needed to change the focus from food.  The arena footing was really too terrible to do any groundwork in reestablishing a sense of partnership, so I followed the horses back to the gate just to “be” with them, rubbing their faces and scratching their necks.  Cimarron, our cute rescue cat, joined our lovefest. buds


The interaction between cat and horses was irresistible; I grabbed my camera.



I’m wondering about the cat/predator—horse/prey relationship…..  Horses are amazingly adaptive animals.  Humans were originally predators of horses too.


At least someone wanted to play!!


7 comments on “Play

  1. We used to have a barn cat who would sit on the horses. The ones we have now are content to sit on top of the walls diving the stalls, but keeping a safe distance.

  2. Jody Sauer says:

    I am sorry that Monarch did not want to play. I do feel I am in the same boat. I am the “bringer of the food”, that is it right now. Although I did take Majestad for a ride in the afternoon. It was wonderful, I get the most amazing trot when going down the road. This would be great for discussion…. Why is my trot better when going straight forward down the road hmmmmmm. I played after the ride we worked on stretching his neck and back. I went back out latter to remove his cooler and groomed and scratched him all over. The scratching fluffs up his hair because it is matted down after being sweaty. He does not know that there is a hidden purpose. He just know it feels so good. So Sunday turned out to be a good day for both you and I and the horses.

  3. this is so feet. I enjoyed reading it.

  4. I meant sweet not feet.

  5. Elizabeth Dickerson says:

    Hi Cheri! I love that you honored the first/main/most humbling rule of play: if they don’t want to it, they don’t have to. Time and again I have been in this position. So worth the wait of when they ARE in the mood! Then watch out! That being said, there is one fun wee game I like to pull out of my pocket when I am testing the waters… Perhaps you already know it? Kind of like Red Light, Green Light. As I approach, if they look at me, I stop and look away. I stay there until they look away, then I walk right towards them… until they look at me, then I stop. Red Light, Green Light. 🙂 When I am all the way to them, time for a rub and a laugh. Have fun! XOX

    • Thanks for this game; I will play it when I return from Mexico. Will miss everyone and the horse & cats; I will even miss Winter because it is so changeable, beautiful, and interesting.

      • Elizabeth Dickerson says:

        Thanks for the fresh perspective on winter. Mexico sounds very, very good right now. Have fun and hope to see you when you get back!

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