Horses I Have Known III

Horses I Have Known, III:

This short series has gotten a good response, so I suppose I'll continue it occasionally. Cassandra (who is on vacation) wanted me to do one of these posts for the benefit of her readers, so it will be cross-posted both at Grim's Hall and Villainous Company.

Here we have another draft horse, a Belgian cross named for the paragon of ladies, Odysseus' wife Penelope:

Her namesake was capable of some deception, but our Penelope is without guile. She is a sweet horse, very happy to have affection but in no way pushy. You can tell how well behaved she is by looking at the bridle: she requires the least tack of any horse I know, except for Celtic, who was sold last month.

In spite of her size, Penelope can get up to a good speed at the canter. Her trot is rough to ride, but the canter is quite smooth. She is a little bit lazy compared to non-coldbloods, but for a draft horse she's not sluggish.

She's been clipped, so she has to wear a blanket in cold weather even though the breed is well-adapted to far colder climates than Georgia. You can see what her regular winter coat would look like, though, on her unclipped legs. The long hair down the leg is called 'feathering.' Note the well-sculpted, thick and powerful muscles in her neck.

Penelope can get up to a good speed, I said, for a draft horse. If you really want to cover ground, though, what you want is a gaited horse (scroll down to "ambling"). This little fellow is a Tennesee Walking Horse, in a pinto pattern called Tobiano. His name is Doc.

Doc's only fault as a horse is that he doesn't like to stand still (though he is quite relaxed here, as evident by his cocked leg and easy ears). What he does like to do is run. Tennessee Walkers are famous for their very smooth "running walk," and Doc has a nice one, but what he wants to do is running run. Even that, though, is tremendously smooth compared to, say, Penelope's nice canter.

Doc's a fully-trained horse, and needs nothing from me except a companion to take him out. His owner, a nice older lady, enjoys him for the smoothness of his gait. She doesn't want to run, and he does. So, she has me exercise him late in the week, so he can get the running he wants to do out of his system. Then, when she has time to ride him on the weekend, he is not quite so tempted to take off with her.

I'm happy to do it. He's a pleasure.

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