It is hard to believe that a year has passed since we first met Sami and his mom Sweetie at their run-down “home” stable. Everyone knows the story by now and how we came to take them home with us. Time flies and so much has happened in the last year with mother and son. They are doing well and have both settled in to the herd nicely.
Since this post is about Sami I can only say that he is one of the sweetest little guys I’ve ever met. He is a smart, sensitive horse who takes everything in stride. Despite his lack of handling before he came to us, he loves human contact, and is always ready to pop his head out of his stall for a scratch under his head or a rub on the neck. There have been many new things he’s had to deal with in the past year, but he is so sensible and never blows up or causes a commotion over things, even if he is very scared or uncomfortable with a situation. Sami is one of those rare horses that can be reasoned with and talked down from the ledge easily. What scary things, you may ask, has he encountered in his year with us? For starters the farrier, who he adores and stands like a little soldier for; of course, this wasn’t always the case, but he’s used to his trims now. He also had to learn to wear a fly mask, and he’s actually better than some of the other horses about getting his on!
We never thought he would be able to get turned out with the herd considering that, when we got him as a stallion, he would run the fence for an hour before we had to bring him in. Apparently, never being let out of a stall for 5 years had a negative effect on him. Can you imagine? He didn’t even know he should eat the grass! Now he can barely wait his turn to get out and he’s turned into quite a Hoover. He’s become such a fat little pony that he practically waddles in by the end of the day and is a candidate for a grazing muzzle (as soon as we find one he can’t take off! We tried one and he had that and his halter both off in record time.) His adjustment to blankets, halters, fly masks, fly spray, baths, tack etc. was easier than we thought it would be; even when he is afraid, he never acts up, but stands stock still and thinks about it as you’re explaining it all to him. He tries so hard to please.
Herd dynamics are interesting to watch as Sami finds his spot in the hierarchy. It would be accurate to say he’s an annoying little pest most of the time. He’ll pick a fight (mostly for play) with any horse in the herd, but his target of choice is usually Nate. Sami thinks it’s a good idea to run right up and rear in Nate’s face (or I should say belly, because that’s as high as all 14.2 hands of him can reach on Nate’s 17.3 hands when he rears back at Sami.) Nate is a good sport about the rearing game and likes to play along, but I shudder to think what could happen if Nate ever came down on him by accident. He’d probably squash him like a bug. Picking a fight with the biggest horse in the herd makes me think maybe he’s got the “short horse” syndrome and is such a little monster I considered changing his name to Napoleon or Bonaparte.
He spends his days mostly eating and trying out his wings, so to speak, by pinning his ears and trying to be boss. He is persistent, but most everyone simply ignores him. Surprisingly, Mellon seems to have taken him under his wing. It’s sort of like Sami is Mellon’s “mini-me.” Normally, the stunts he pulls would get Mellon riled and spurred to action to keep the discipline, but for some reason he puts up with Sami, and has even been caught grooming with him on occasion! Mellon also came from a neglect situation, and I wonder if maybe Mellon looks after him because he can relate to what Sami has been through, or if Mellon just sees a reflection of himself in Sami’s toughness and desire to be top horse... Or maybe he just likes having a sidekick. But if this keeps up, we may have to rename him Mellow Mellon.
The best part of all Sami’s antics may be when he tries to bully his mother. Though she gets no respect from the other members of the herd (and generally tries to avoid them in the field) one pointed look from her has him scurrying for cover. This leads me to believe she must have been one tough motor scooter in her days of mothering and rearing little brats like him. He’s petrified of her, so rough, tough, cream-puff Sami keeps his distance until he forgets himself and annoys her again. Testing…testing. Even though no one else is in the least afraid of her, at least Sami knows his place with her. He’s still on the bottom of the herd totem pole.
We haven’t done much training with Sami yet, but in just a few short sessions he has learned how to walk and trot on the lunge for short periods, is getting attuned to voice commands and soon may start long lining. He’s too small for us to ride but, when the time is right for a rider, I’m sure we’ll figure out something. For now he’s just learning to behave himself and have some manners. I find with him, because he’s so sensitive, you must take it slow and easy and not insist on too many things too fast. He has plenty of time to learn and once he gets it all together I am sure he is going to be a super-star and very safe for anyone to ride. In the meantime he’s a cute, sweet little guy to have around. We do love him and are happy to see him coming into his own.
Until next time
Quote for Today
By reason of his elegance, he resembles an image painted in a palace, though he is as majestic as the palace itself.
- Emir Abd-el-Kader